Skip to main content

Full text of "James Stephens, chief organizer of the Irish republic. Embracing an account of the origin and progress of the Fenian brotherhood. Being a semi-biographical sketch of James Stephens, with the story of his arrest and imprisonment; also his escape from the British authorities"

See other formats



James    Stephens,  ^ 








Carleton,  Publisher,  413  Broadway. 



Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congi-ess,  in  the  yea?  1S66,  by 


In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the 
Southern  District  tvf  JSIew  York. 

The  New  York  Printis«  Company, 

81,  83,  and  85  Centre  Street, 

New  York. 


A  *' Biography  of  James  Stephens"  cannot  yet 
be  written,  for  his  life  has  not  yet  terminated,  and 
his  work  is  not  accomplished.  Kor  can  the  "  His- 
tory of  Fenianism"  be  indited  while  the  freedom 
of  Ireland  from  British  rule  is  an  unaccomplished 
fact.  He  who  shall  write  the  one,  must  neces- 
sarily indite  the  other.  At  the  present  time,  a 
brief  sketch  of  the  work  performed  by  the  one, 
and  the  progress  made  by  the  other,  may  serve 
to  throw  some  light  upon  the  condition  of  Ireland 
and  assist  in  her  redemption. 

There  will,  doubtless,  be  found  some  inaccura- 
cies in  this  little  book,  but  the  material  points  of 
which  it  treats  are  substantially  correct.  In  the 
absence  of  any  official  records  to  which  to  refer, 
the  author  has  been  compelled  to  rely  mainly 
upon  oral  statements,  and  the  current  newspaper 
reports  of  the  day  for  his  facts.     By  condensing, 


BiCling,  and  collatin*^  tlicsc,  ho  lias  striven  to 
write  as  near  tlie  truth  as  possible. 

There  are  some  faults  of  omission  as  well  as 
commission  in  this  narrative.  While  there  are 
yet  a  hundred  thousand  Irishmen  in  their  native 
land,  who  have  been  identified  with  the  recent 
revolutionary  movement  there,  it  would  be  man- 
ifestly improper  to  relate  the  facts  which  would 
com])romise  them  and  subject  them  to  penalties 
])rovidcd  by  English  law. 

Conscientiously  using  the  material  Avithin  his 
reach,  the  author  has  CTulcavorcd  to  deal  fairly 
with  all  parties  interested.  That  his  efforts  may 
contribute  towards  developing  among  Irishmen 
in  America  a  pure  and  holy  sympathy  for  their 
miibrtunate  country,  and  serve  to  persuade  them 
to  more  united  efibrts,  is  his  most  fervent  wish. 

New  York,  May  2Sih,  18G6. 



The  few  pages  which  arc  to  introduce  a  brief 
sketch  of  the  hte  of  the  Litest  Irish  (;onH|)irator,  and 
the  story  of  the  organi/:ition  of  wliic.h  he  is  tlie 
head  and  heart,  arc  a(hlressed  less  to  Irishjiien,  tlian 
to  those  whose  idea  of  Irish  grievances  is  indefinite 
— to  those  who,  with  but  a  vague  knowledge  of 
either  the  country  or  her  wrongs,  and  an  imperfect 
one  of  her  people,  yet  leap  at  the  wish  to  set  her 
free  of  English  rule,  more  from  an  intuitive  know- 
ledge that  freedom  is  her  light,  than  from  conclu- 
sions forced  upon  them  by  familiarity  with  her 
history.  And  to  that  other  class,  by  individual 
members  of  which  the  question  is  often  asked, 
"  But  wl>at  has  Ireland  to  complain  of  now  ?  is  she 
not  an  integral  portion  of  the  British  em])ire,  duly 
represented  in  its  government,  and  sharing  in  its 
influence  and  progress?"  To  these  it  ought  to  be 
enough  to  say,  "  read  Irish  history ;"  more  than 
enough  to  say,  "  you  cannot  get  these  two  nations 
to  work  smoothly  together ;  fire  and  ice  are  scarcely 
less  congenial ;  centuries  of  experimenting  have 
failed  to  discover  the  aflinities;  centuries  of  subjec- 
tion and  efforts  at  amalgamation  have  failed  to 
break  down  the  barriers  dividing  them."    The  Eng- 


lisli  and  the  Irish  people  remain  this  day  as  dis- 
tinct in  each  characteristic  feature  as  any  two 
nationaUties  in  existence.  The  Irish  have  within 
themselves  all  the  elements  of  independence,  all  the 
elements  of  becoming  a  useful  if  not  a  powerful 
member  of  the  family  of  nations.  It  can  be  no 
longer  doubted  that  it  is  the  wish  of  this  people  to 
be  independent ;  they  struggle  for  it,  and  are  discon- 
tented failing  to  secure  it.  What  American  can 
withhold  his  respect  for  that  discontent  ?  Freedom 
is  this  people's  right,  and  this  alone  ought  to  be 
argument  enough  for  the  wisdom  of  their  dis- 

If  a  people  through  successive  generations  fail  to 
appreciate  the  beneficence  of  a  government  which, 
in  the  first  instance,  was  forced  upon  them,  and 
ever  since  sustained  by  brute  force  only,  opposed  to 
their  solemn  and  reiterated  protest,  and  in  defiance 
of  repeated  outbreak  (whether  all  this  be  a  result 
of  their  ingratitude,  their  obstinacy,  or  their  want 
of  appreciation  of  the  blessings  of  such  obtrusive 
friendship,  it  matters  little) ;  it  must  be  accepted  as 
evidence  of  the  want  of  that  integrity  of  parts  so 
necessary  to  the  peace  and  prosperity  of  a  nation  as 
a  whole. 

To  all  students  of  Irish  history,  it  is  known  that 
there  is  no  chapter  there  unmarked  by  protest  in 
some  shape  or  other  against  English  rule ;  not  a  few 
of  them  written  in  the  blood  of  the  malcontents ;  in 
fact,  the  only  history  that  Ireland  has  to  show  for 
centuries  is  the  story  of  her  successive  protests 
against  what  she  takes  the  liberty  to  call  the  usurpa- 
tion of  her  government  by  English  rulers.     Let  us 


sketch  in  a  sentence   or  two   the   story   of  these 

With  the  presence  of  Strongbow  on  Irish  soil 
began  the  struggle  between  the  English  and  Irish 
people,  lashed  into  fury  at  times,  with  periods  of 
calm  intervening,  for  over  four  hundred  years.  Then 
came  the  conquest  of  the  gentle  Mountjoy,  who 
boasted  that  he  gave  to  his  no  more  tender- 
hearted mistress  "  a  country  of  carcasses  and  ashes." 
A  period  of  churchyard  silence  here  succeeds,  but  a 
resurrection  follows  it,  and  the  tongue  which  is 
spoken  is  still  the  language  of  the  Celt.  Elizabeth 
gave  place  to  James,  and  James  to  Charles.  Charles 
gave  his  head  to  Cromwell.  The  English  people 
were  under  the  iron  heel  of  the  Dictator,  but  the 
Irish,  the  resuscitated  Irish,  were  in  rebellion !  Again 
the  spoiler  was  upon  them.  This  time  the  work  of 
devastation  was  complete  ;  fire  and  sword  had  sway 
unlimited ;  lands  were  laid  waste ;  homesteads  pil- 
laged, and,  in  the  name  of  God,  the  followers  of 
Cromwell  possessed  themselves  of  Irish  maids,  and 
lands  and  gold,  and  made  her  rich  soil  richer 
still  with  the  blood  of  her  slaughtered  sons.  This 
time  she  is  not  only  dead  but  buried.  Before,  like 
the  son  of  the  widow  of  Nain,  she  had  arisen  from 
the  bed  of  death.  This  time  she  is  entombed.  But 
even  from  out  the  grave,  dug  by  the  swords  of  mer- 
ciless soldiery,  she  once  more  emerges ;  the  stone  is 
rolled  away  for  her  resurrection,  and  she  stands  again 
to  battle  for  her  nationality.  She  protests  once  more 
against  England's  rule  and  England's  king,  and  fights 
with  a  broken  sword  against  William  of  ISTassau  and 
his  hireling  soldiery.      This  time  she  is  not  beaten, 


but  she  capitulates,  and  the  treaty  of  Limerick  is 
signed.  For  the  right  to  worship  God  after  the  fashion 
of  their  fathers,  the  Irish  laid  down  their  arms. 
With  or  without  arms  they  still  protest.  The 
father  who  succumbed  begat  sons  to  whom  he  left 
the  legacy  of  his  hate.  The  English,  no  more  faith- 
ful then  than  they  are  now,  and  the  record  of  their 
truthfulness  is  fresh  upon  our  memories,  taking  advan- 
tage of  the  first  symptoms  of  another  protest,  broke 
through  the  sworn-to  treaty,  and  enacted  through 
their  tools  in  the  so-called  Irish  Parliament  the  ac- 
cursed penal  laws,  the  prominent  features  of  which 
may  be  written  as  follows  : 

Catholics  were  excluded  from  every  profession 
except  the  medical,  and  from  all  official  stations 
without  exception. 

Catholic  children  could  only  be  educated  by  Pro- 
testant teachers  at  home,  and  it  was  highly  penal  to 
send  them  abroad  for  education. 

Catholics  were  forbidden  to  exercise  trade  or 
commerce  in  any  corporate  town. 

Catholics  were  legally  disqualified  to  hold  leases 
of  land  for  a  longer  tenure  than  thirty-one  years, 
and  also  disqualified  to  inherit  the  lands  of  Protest- 
ant relatives. 

A  Catholic  could  not  legally  possess  a  horse  of 
greater  value  than  five  pounds,  and  any  true  Protest- 
ant meeting  a  Catholic  with  a  horse  worth  fifty  or 
sixty  pounds,  might  lay  down  the  legal  jDrice  of  five, 
unhorse  the  idolater,  and  ride  away. 

A  Catholic  child,  turning  Protestant,  could  sue 
its  parents  for  maintenance,  to  be  determined  by  a 
Protestant  Court  of  Chancery. 


A  Catholic's  eldest  son  turning  Protestant  re- 
duced his  father  to  a  tenant-for-life,  the  reversion  to 
the  convert. 

A  Catholic  priest  could  not  celebrate  mass  under 
severe  penalties ;  but  he  who  recanted  was  secured 
.a  stipend  by  law. 

That  this  code  wrought  long  and  well  is  a  well- 
known  story.  This  monster,  begotten  on  Irish  soil, 
a  lineal  descendant  of  the  Reformation,  a  child  of 
the  "  glorious  revolution,"  did  its  work  bravely.  As 
Burke  says  of  it :  "  It  was  a  machine  of  wise  and 
deliberate  contrivance,  as  well  fitted  for  the  oppres- 
sion, impoverishment,  and  degradation  of  a  people, 
and  the  debasement  in  them  of  human  nature  itself, 
as  ever  proceeded  from  the  perverted  ingenuity  of 

It  did  its  work  bravely  indeed.  Hear  how  the 
seventeenth  century  ended : 

"  The  manufacture  of  wool  into  cloth  had  been  totally  destroyed 
by  law.  Acts  of  the  British  and  Irish  Parliament  (the  latter  being 
wholly  subject  to  the  former)  prohibited  the  export  of  woollen 
cloth  from  Ireland  to  any  country  whatsoever  except  to  England 
and  "Wales.  The  exception  was  delusive,  because  duties  amount- 
ing to  a  prohibition  prevented  the  Irish  cloth  from  entering  Eng- 
land or  "Wales.  Before  that  time  Ireland  had  a  good  trade  in 
woollen  drapery  with  foreign  countries,  and  undersold  the  Eng- 
lish Therefore  the  British  Parliament  addressed  King  "Wilham, 
urging  him  to  suppress  the  traffic.  Tlie  House  of  Lords  used  this 
language :  *  "Wherefore  we  most  humbly  beseech  your  most  sacred 
Majesty  that  your  Majesty  would  be  pleased,  in  the  most  public 
and  effectual  way  that  may  be,  to  declare  to  all  your  subjects  in 
Ireland  that  the  growth  and  increase  of  the  woollen  manufactures 
there  hath  long  been  and  will  bo  ever  looked  upon  with  great 
jealousy  by  all  your  subjects  of  this  kingdom,  and  if  not  timely  re- 
medied may  occasion  very  strict  laws  totally  to  prohibit  it  and 
suppress  the  same.'  King  William,  the  Deliverer,  replied  that  he 
would  do  his  utmost  to  ruin  his  Irish  subjects.  '  He  would  do  all 
that  in  him  lay  to  discourage  the  woollen  manufactures  of  Ireland ;' 
and  he  was  as  good  as  his  word. 



Now,  for  a  hundred  years,  Catholic  Ireland  is 
gagged ;  but  she  still  protests  against  British  mis- 
rule with  the  Protestant  tongues  of  Swift,  and  Lucas, 
and  Molyneux.  It  was  not  necessary  for  the  mother 
to  be  Catholic  that  hate  for  England  might  mingle 
with  that  mother's  milk ;  it  was  only  necessary  for 
her  to  be  Irish.  English  cupidity,  and  the  monopo- 
lies born  of  it,  did  their  work ;  the  country  was  im- 
poverished ;  the  people  were  swept  to  their  graves 
by  the  thousand.  No  coroner's  jury  tells  the  story 
of  their  dying,  but  it  is  written  in  a  language  as  in- 
delible as  the  stars — "  starvation." 

The  century  drew  near  its  close  ;  a  generation  had 
passed  away  without  a  sign.  The  Protestant  element 
was  a  strong  one  now,  but  it  was  Irish  Protestant. 
The  thunders  of  Napoleon's  cannon  were  echoed  by 
the  cliffs  of  Dover — England  was  in  clanger.  Pro- 
testant Ireland  v^as  appealed  to,  and  she  answered 
with  eighty  thousand  bayonets.  The  Frenchmen 
did  not  come,  and  the  bayonets  were  no  longer 
needed.  But  in  the  meantime,  "  England's  difficulty 
was  Ireland's  opportunity."  The  star  of  the  unhappy 
land  rose  above  the  horizon  for  an  hour.  Backed  by 
these  eighty  thousand  bayonets,  an  independent  par- 
liament made  laws  in  College  Green,  and  for  a  space 
she  gloried  in  her  ancient  title  of  the  "  Sovereign 
Kingdom  of  Ireland."  Then  upon  Irish  cannon  was 
the  motto,  "  Free  trade  or  else" — that  free  trade 
meaning  the  right  of  the  Irish  people  to  regulate 
their  commerce  as  best  suited  Irish,  not  English,  in- 
terests ;  the  right  to  levy  duties  for  the  support  of 
an  Irish,  not  an  English,  government. 

For  eighteen  years   the  Irish  people  rejoiced  iu 


an  independent  government,  obeyed  the  laws 
which  emanated  from  the  Parliament  at  Dublin, 
and  prospered  under  the  protection  of  its  paternal 
care.  Manufactories  sprang  up  again.  The  pro- 
verbially discontented  Irish  gave  respectable  evi- 
dences of  a  love  of  industry  and  of  the  good 
things  purchased  by  its  exercise.  The  agricultural 
produce  of  the  country  found  a  home  market  in 
exchange  for  native  manufactures.  Fat  cattle  ceased 
to  crowd  the  ships  for  English  shores,  and  broadcloth 
ceased  to  be  a  heavy  inward  freight.  The  public 
revenues  were  expended  at  home.  Dublin  grew  beau- 
tiful in  public  buildings,  this  day  her  pride  and  shame. 
Landlords  began  to  stay  at  home  and  spend  their 
rentals  there.  The  beautiful  city  on  the  Liffey  was 
sufficient  attraction  for  the  most  fastidious,  when 
she  bore  the  prestige  of  independence. 

But  could  this  state  of  things  last  ?  Could  Eng- 
land afford  to  lose  so  good  a  customer  for  her  manu- 
factures, so  good  a  market  wherein  to  buy  her 
beloved  beef  ?  Could  she  afford  to  permit  a  rival 
shopkeeper  at  her  very  door,  who,  a  short  time 
before,  had  been  her  customer,  but  now  threat- 
ened to  share  even  her  foreign  trade,  if  not,  from 
peculiar  facilities  of  manufactures,  drive  her  com- 
pletely out  of  the  markets  where  she  had  hitherto 
held  monopoly?  Of  course  not.  The  rival  shop- 
keeper must  be  crushed,  not  by  honest  competi- 
tion ;  no,  that  would  be  a  tedious  and  uncertain  pro" 
cess  ;  but  by  any  and  every  means  her  innate  selfish- 
ness could  devise  by  which  to  effect  her  object.  With 
eighty  thousand  muskets  to  protect  her  neighbor's 
trade,  she  dare  not  attempt  to  drive  her  from  the 


market.  ISTo,  but  she  would  kill  her  witli  kindness. 
Every  concession  was  made ;  all  that  Ireland  asked 
was  given ;  England  was  for  the  first  time  her  true 
and  tender-hearted  sister.  Now  the  time  was 
come  when  the  peaceful  relations  of  the  world, 
and  especially  of  these  two  loving  sisters,  asked 
for  the  disbanding  of  this  great  army  of  Irish 
volunteers.  The  English  standing  army  was  suf- 
ficient for  protection  of  the  "  Sister  Islands."  The 
confiding  Irish  believed  the  story,  and  the  volun- 
teers were  disbanded.  This  was  the  initiatory  step 
to  the  "  Act  of  Union."  But  the  proposed  union 
was  unpalatable  to  the  people.  Even  a  corrupt 
Parliament,  which  might  be  cleansed  some  day,  in 
Dublin,  was  better  than  a  sixth  of  the  representa- 
tion in  the  London  one.  The  scheme,  however, 
which  began  with  the  disbanding  of  the  volunteers 
could  not  end  there;  the  union  must  be  accom- 
plished. The  premature  rising  of  '98  was  brought 
about.  By  what  villanies  generated  and  how 
fomented  is  but  too  well  known,  as  is  the  story  of 
the  sacrifice  which  left  its  blood-stain  upon  many  a 
threshold.  England  had  conquered  once  again ; 
terrorism  was  rampant ;  public  meetings  were  dis- 
persed by  the  soldiery;  the  national  press  was 
bribed ;  a  muzzled  and  a  hireling  one  hed  its  utmost ; 
the  Irish  Parliament  was  packed  with  English 
instruments,  and  by  corruption  and  intimidation 
the  Act  of  Union  was  carried.* 

The  twenty  years  which  followed  were  twenty 

*  For  the  modus  operandi  by  which  this  Act  was  brought  to  a 
successful  issue,  read  the  black  list  appended  to  Sir  Jonah  Bar- 
rington's  "Kise  and  Fall  of  the  Irish  Nation." 


years  of  prostration  of  spirit,  of  lingering  death  to 
manufacture,  of  concentration  of  all  power  in  Eng- 
land, and  of  an  exodus  from  Ireland  of  that  wealth 
which,  expended  at  home,  had  given  stimulus  to 
trade  and  confidence  to  the  people.  Gloom  and 
poverty  settled  down  upon  the  land,  till  1817  found 
the  people  again  dying  of  starvation.  Many  of  the 
inhabitants  of  the  Western  and  North-western 
coasts  dragged  out  a  miserable  existence  on  sea- 
weed, and  to  thousands  potatoes  were  a  luxury ; 
the  people  died  by  wholesale  of  famine-fever,  not 
in  the  poorer  districts  only,  but  in  the  best  counties 
in  the  country.  During  this  famine  and  that  of 
1822,  and  the  intervening  years,  most  strange  to 
stay,  the  English  peasant  throve  and  fattened ;  there 
was  no  fever  cloud  to  fling  its  shadow  over  his 
happy  fields;  English  looms  were  busy  and  her 
artisans  were  fed. 

What !  had  Providence  stricken  Irish  fields  with 
barrenness  in  condemnation  of  her  near-sighted- 
ness ?  Had  it  cursed  her  with  famine  for  her  folly  ? 
1^0 ;  strange  to  say,  there  was  neither  murrain 
among  the  cattle  nor  a  blight  upon  the  wheat, 
but  the  poor  of  the  towns  were  unemployed  ;  there 
was  food,  but  not  the  means  to  buy  it.  English 
looms  were  musical,  Irish  looms  were  rotten  with 
disuse.  The  petty  manufactures  had  followed  the 
greater  ones,  and  shops  were  closed,  for  the  custom- 
ers had  gone,  and  the  money  with  them,  to  the 
theatres  of  power  and  place  in  England.  I^o,  there 
was  no  dearth  of  food ;  a  loaf  might  be  had  for  six- 
pence, as  in  preceding  years,  but  there  was  no  six- 
pence to  buy  withal.     In  1817  there  were  exported 


to  England  from  Ireland  over  700,000  quarters  of 
grain  alone,  and  vast  herds  of  cattle;  and  in  1822, 
over  one  million  quarters  of  grain.  Did  the  money 
come  back  to  Ireland  for  all  this  ?  Oh,  no  ;  it  stayed 
in  England  to  pay  the  rent,  or  followed  to  the  Con- 
tinent the  landlords  who  had  forsaken  their  homes, 
and  entrusted  the  paternal  cares  of  their  estates  to 
the  management  of  their  agents  and  their  tenants 
to  their  mercy.  On  the  debate  in  the  House  of 
Commons  in  1822,  "William  Cobbett,  an  honest 
Englishman,  writes  in  this  fashion  : — 

"  Money,  it  seems,  is  wanted  in  Ireland.  Now  people  do  not 
eat  money.  No  ;  but  the  money  will  buy  them  something  to  eat. 
Whatl  the  food  is  there  then,  pray  observe  this,  reader,  pray  ob- 
serve this,  and  let  the  parties  get  out  of  the  concern  if  they  can. 
The  food  is  there,  but  those  who  have  it  in  their  possession  will 
not  give  it  without  the  money.  And  we  know  that  the  food  is 
there;  for  since  this  famine  has  been  declared  in  Parliament, 
thousands  of  quarters  of  corn  have  been  imported  every  week  from 
Ireland  to  England." 

The  records  of  this  time  alone  are  so  accursed 
that  could  Irishmen  forget  the  tyrannies  of  six  hun- 
dred years  preceding,  their  hopes  of  vengeance  dare 
not  perish  whilst  this  one  memory  remains.  Starva- 
tion in  the  midst  of  plenty.  Persecuted  thus  in  body, 
as  they  had  been  in  spirit  for  centuries ;  famished  in 
the  midst  of  fruitful  fields,  and  their  souls  restrict- 
ed under  penalty  to  orthodox  devotion,  did  they 
drop  upon  their  knees  and  cry  peccavi  ?  prostrate 
themselves  and  place  their  necks  within  the  English 
halter?  Oh  no!  they  had  not  done joro^es^m^  yet- 
Then  was  the  birth-time,  among  the  moderate 
and  the  cowardly,  of  the  Catholic  Relief  Agitation, 
and  amongst  the  more  earnest,  because  most  suffer- 
ing, ofRibbonism  and  the  Society  of  the  Whiteboys. 


Catholic  emancipation  was  conceded  to  the  former 
in  1829;  and  this  concession  to  the  manes  of  their 
fathers,  who  tasted  the  first  rigors  of  the  penal  laws, 
and  of  the  hunted  priests  who  died  by  them,  satis- 
fied for  a  time  the  sick  at  heart,  but  failed  to  bring 
a  soothing  bahn  to  the  bulk  of  the  people,  in  whom 
the  music  of  their  church  bells,  heard  for  the  first 
time  in  centuries,  could  not  drown  for  ever  the  dy- 
ing groans  of  the  massacred  and  the  famished  that 
filled  up  the  space  between. 

It  is  known  the  part  which  O'Connell  took  in  the 
agitation  which  led  to  the  emancipation  of  the 
Catholics,  as  it  is  known  the  hold  which  from  that  time 
he  had  upon  the  affections  of  the  Irish  people.  A  peri- 
od of  rest  now  follows,  or,  what  was  worse,  of  peace- 
ful agitation.  The  Precursor  Society  was  followed 
by  that  organization,  having  O'Connell  for  its  leader, 
and  for  its  object  the  repeal  of  the  "Act  of  Union," 
How  O'Connell  manoeuvred  the  passions  of  the  Irish 
people,  and  how  he  in  turn  was  manoeuvred  and  be- 
praised  by  that  people's  enemies,  whose  game  he 
played,  is  a  painful  story  within  the  memories  of 
most  of  us.  But  there  came  a  time  when  the  people's 
heart  grew  sick  with  the  hope  deferred,  for  the 
"  Repeal"  which  had  been  promised  them  as  the 
fruit  of  each  incoming  session  of  Parliament  grew  no 
more  certain  as  the  years  went  by,  but  the  ruin  of 
the  country  grew  more  certain  daily.  The  monster 
meetings  of  1843,  in  the  might  of  their  7norao 
strength,  had  failed  to  intimidate  the  English 
Government,  and  O'Connell  was  afraid  (whether 
for  Mmself  or  for  the  people,  God  knows)  to  use  the 
power  he  held  to  awake  that  physical  force  which 


he  might  have  controlled  at  will,  and,  as  his  country- 
men then  and  now  believe,  directed  to  success. 

But  the  paternal  government  was  in  action  during 
all  this  time,  in  its  own  way,  for  Irish  amelioration. 
Laws  had  been  enacted  disfranchising  the  holders  of 
petty  freeholds ;  their  votes  no  longer  available  to 
their  landlords,  they  were  swept  from  their  misera- 
ble homesteads  by  the  thousand.  To  make  eject- 
ment in  every  shape  of  easy  execution,  laws  un- 
known to  the  English  Common  Law  were  made  and 
put  in  force,  resulting  in  the  desired  consolidation  of 
farms,  and  in  the  pauperism  of  the  ejected.  Li  1846 
the  famine  came,  and  the  country  was  ripe  for  it ; 
ripe  for  the  harvest  of  death,  and  the  reaper.  Hea- 
ven knows,  had  a  busy  time  of  it.  The  story  of 
that  horror,  the  Irish  famine,  is  as  well  known  in 
America  as  it  is  in  Ireland.  A  famine  which  swept 
into  untimely  graves  a  million  people.  A  famine  in  a 
land  from  which  had  been  exported  the  year  before 
over  $80,000,000  worth  of  produce  to  England; 
and  in  one  day  of  the  self-same  year,  1847,  shipped 
for  the  London  market  over  eleven  thousand  quar- 
ters of  wheat.  From  Newry  alone,  within  five  days, 
in  the  end  of  September,  there  sailed  eleven  ships 
for  England  laden  with  grain,  exchisive  of  two  large 
steamers,  which  sailed  four  times  a  week,  laden  with 
cattle,  eggs,  and  butter.  From  Drogheda,  that  same 
week,  were  shipped  1,200  cows,  3,500  sheep  and 
swine,  2,000  quarters  of  grain,  211  tons  of  flour  and 
meal,  butter,  eggs,  and  lard.  From  Waterford,  in 
the  same  week,  250  tons  of  flour,  1,100  sheep  and 
pigs,  308  head  of  cattle,  5,400  barrels  of  wheat  and  oats, 
'7,'700  firkins  of  butter,  and  2,000  flitches  of  bacon ; 


and  all  the  while  the  cry  for  bread  arose  on  every  acre. 
Parents,  mad  with  hunger,  struggled  with  their  fa- 
mished children  for  the  morsel  of  food  which  charity 
or  chance  had  brought  them.  Hundreds  died  upon 
their  hearthstones  without  a  cry.  In  many  places, 
including  entire  villages,  the  living  were  too  weak 
to  bury  their  brethren  who  had  died  from  hunger. 
On  the  island  of  Innisbofin,  off  the  coast  of  Galway, 
may  be  seen  this  day,  among  the  ruins  of  an  old 
chapel  there,  and  lying  in  a  corner,  a  pile  of  human 
bones,  the  skeletons  of  those  who  were  carried  to 
that  consecrated  spot  by  the  poor  old  priest  of  the 
island.  There  were  not  men  enough  on  the  island 
who  were  able  to  give  burial  to  the  dead.  Along 
the  coast  of  Conemara,  the  people  lived  for  many 
months  exclusively  on  seaweed  and  such  fish  as  they 
were  able  to  obtain.  And  so  it  was  on  the  coasts 
of  Donegal  and  Antrim.  Even  in  prosperous  Bel- 
fast, men  and  women  quarrelled  along  the  quays  for 
the  particles  of  grain — drippings  from  the  bags  of 
the  cargoes  of  corn  being  delivered.  In  one  au- 
thenticated instance,  an  infant  was  found  seeking 
sustenance  from  the  breast  of  its  mother,  w^ho  had 
died  of  hunger,  and  alone. 

Starvation  was  checked  by  the  munificent  charity 
of  America,  and  by  the  generous  contributions  of 
other  nations.  Still  the  people  were  swept  off  by 
tens  of  thousands  by  starvation  in  the  midst  of  plenty, 
whilst  those  who  were  able,  fled  to  America,  aided  in 
that  effort  by  the  instrumentality  of  their  relatives 
here,  or  by  the  sale  of  the  few  acres  which  they 
owned,  or  of  their  lease,  if  they  were  fortunate 
enough  to  have  one. 


Those  who  remained,  starving  or  approa^'hing  beg- 
gary or  starvation,  still  solemnly  protested.  The 
cry  for  indei^endence,  as  a  cure  for  all  their  ills,  rose 
loud  and  long  above  the  shrieks  of  famine.  The 
bubble  of  peaceful  agitation  burst  about  O'Connell's 
ears,  and  out  of  the  ashes  of  the  party  agitating  for 
Repeal  sprang  the  "  Irish  Confederation."  O'Connell 
died.  The  French  Revolution  burst  upon  startled 
Europe.  The  down-trodden  nations  of  the  world 
dreamed  that  the  star  of  their  redemption  had  arisen. 
The  people  of  Ireland  looked  for  a  new  Redeemer 
from  the  east!  Revolutionary  clubs  were  formed 
in  every  town  and  hamlet.  The  young  men  of 
Ireland,  irrespective  of  creed,  or  the  difference  of 
opinion  as  to  the  means  to  accomplish  their  country's 
freedom,  w^hich  they  had  hitherto  indulged  in,  shook 
hands  as  brothers  and  prepared  themselves  for  the 
coming  conflict.  Arras  were  purchased  in  con- 
siderable numbers,  and  smithies  were  busy  night  and 
day  in  the  manufacture  of  pike-heads.  Treason  was 
taught  openly  in  the  speeches  of  Meagher,  O'Brien, 
Martin,  Traitor  McGee,  Mitchel  and  a  host  of  others, 
and  in  the  pages  of  The  Vnited  Irishynen  and  The  Na- 
tion. The  peaceful  Protestant  north  was  armed  to 
the  teeth,  guns  and  pikes  were  hidden  among  the 
brick-fields  near  the  manufacturing  towns  and  in  hay- 
ricks throughout  the  country.  The  people  were 
ripe  and  ready  once  again.  Then  came  the  counter- 
action of  the  government — the  arming  of  the  Orange 
lodges ;  the  industrious  spread  of  the  story,  through 
a  paid  press,  that  the  purpose  of  the  confederates  was 
that  of  the  communists  of  France — subversion  of 
all  order  and  religion.     Regiments  poured  in  from 


England ;  artillery  was  paraded  through  the  streets  of 
Dublin.  An  act  was  passed  by  a  large  majority 
providing  "that  any  one  who  should  levy  war 
against  the  Queen,  or  endeavor  to  deprive  her  of 
her  title,  or  by  open  or  advised  speaking,  printing, 
or  publishing,  incite  others  to  the  same,  should  be 
deemed  guilty  of  felony  and  transported." 

Then  followed  the  arrest  of  O'Brien,  Meagher, 
and  Mitchel,  on  a  charge  of  sedition.  Unable  to 
find  a  jury  sufficiently  venal  for  their  purpose,  the 
prisoners  wqtq  discharged.  Mitchel  was  again 
arrested,  prosecuted  under  the  new  act,  and,  with  a 
new  packed  jury,  was  convicted  and  sentenced  to 
transportation.  The  day  on  which  Mitchel  was  to 
be  taken  from  his  prison,  in  Dublin,  to  undergo  his 
sentence  of  transportation,  was  to  have  been  that  for 
a  general  outbreak.  But  this  was  in  May ;  the  crops 
were  in  the  fields,  not  in  the  haggards ;  and  a  rising, 
it  was  deemed  by  many,  ought  only  to  be  made  in 
the  harvest-time,  when  the  people  could  find  sus- 
tenance on  the  field ;  in  the  food  within  their  reach. 
The  leaders  of  the  party,  therefore,  advised  the  wait- 
ing to  the  harvest-time.  They  waited;  but  the 
delay  was  fatal.  Taken  at  that  hour  when  the  true 
pulse  of  Ireland  beat  steadily ;  when  the  police  were 
rebellious  to  the  heart's  core,  and  not  an  Irish  soldier 
in  the  country  who  w^as  not  ready  to  turn  his  bay- 
onet towards  an  English  breast,  the  countrj^  would 
have  burst  into  a  flame,  and  Ireland  would  have 
profited  by  the  best  chance  she  had  had  for  freedom 
in  centuries.  Whatever  the  result,  that  was  her  one 
great  chance — she  allowed  it  to  pass  her  by. 

Troops  were   poured  in  in  additional   numbers ; 


newspapers  were  suppressed ;  martial  law  was  pro- 
claimed ;  diligent  search  was  made  for  arms  in 
every  direction  ;  weapons  were  placed  in  the  hands  of 
northern  loyalists.  Conservative  flax-spinners  and 
manufacturers  pledged  their  workmen  against  secret 
societies.  The  appliances  to  put  out  the  fire  were 
manifold  and  successful ;  for,  when  the  harvest  came, 
came  with  it  the  miserable  failure  at  an  outbreak, 
and,  following  it,  the  arrest  and  banishment  of  many 
of  the  leaders.     So  ended  the^^ro^es^  of  '48. 

"  Now,  surely,"  said  the  critics,  who  had  written 
up  this  drama  and  spoken  in  terms  of  praise  or  blame 
of  the  actors  therein,  as  their  pay  or  spirit  moved 
them  ;  "  now,  surely,  these  Irish  will  wind  up  their 
national  performance  with  this  last  act,  the  last 
scene  of  which  is  sufficiently  tragical  for  a  respecta- 
ble denouement."  "  Surely,"  cried  the  English 
taskmasters,  "these  whipped  hounds  will  howl  to 
kennel  and  obey  the  lash."  "  Surely,"  said  the 
peaceful  priests,  "good  people,  you  must  see  that 
God  is  not  with  you  in  all  this  thing  ;  be  peaceful, 
be  contented.  Have  you  not  a  college  where  your 
priests  are  taught  some  Latin,  and  learn  to  swear 
allegiance  with  the  vow  of  celibacy?  Have  you 
not  a  National  school  system  where,  with  a  little 
fighting  on  our  part,  but  a  few  of  you  are  perverted, 
and  the  rest  but  gradually  Anglicised  ?  What,  if 
you  persist  in  being  a  virtuous  and  prolific  race, 
have  you  not  the  privilege  to  take  your  surplus 
selves  to  America,  and  your  blessed  pastor  with  you  ? 
God  bless  us  all !  it  might  be  worse.  There  was  a 
time  when  it  was  worse.  I  tell  you,  there  was  a 
time  when  they  would  have  shot  me  for  saying  mass, 


or  for  shriving  the  soul  of  a  dying  sinner  ;  now  I  can 
say  mass  in  the  broad  daylight,  and  you  can  kneel 
before  nie  till  my  blessing,  to  reach  you  all,  has  to 
pass  out  through  the  open  door,  for  you  are  too  poor  to 
build  a  house  for  God  and  yourselves  and  me,  God 
help  you.  But  this  is  a  wonderful  change,  my  chil- 
dren.    Bless  God,  starve  a  little,  and  be  contented." 

For  a  time  it  looked  as  if  the  critics  were  in 
the  right ;  the  curtain  seemed  indeed  to  have  fallen 
on  the  last  act  of  the  Irish  revolutionary  drama. 
Wily  diplomatists  in  England  and  the  representa- 
tives of  English  rule,  and  the  recipients  of  English 
bribes  in  Ireland,  the  Castle  Hacks  in  Dublin,  and 
the  city  shopkeepers  who  scrambled  for  viceregal 
pence,  and  the  Orangemen  of  the  north,  and  the 
Irish  gentlemen,  with  English  names  and  English 
proclivities,  who  had  invested  capital  in  spinning- 
mills  and  looms  and  bleach-mills  on  the  banks 
of  the  Lagan  and  the  Bann,  all  these  rubbed  to- 
gether their  exultant  palms  and  thanked  Heaven 
(no  they  didn't,  they  never  thought  of  Heaven),  and 
congratulated  each  other  at  the  death  and  burial  of 
Old  Ireland  and  of  Young  Ireland  just  consummated. 

N'ow  suppose  we  rested  here,  has  not  proof 
enough  been  given  of  incompatibility  of  temper  as  be- 
tween this  English  and  this  Irish  people  to  ask  the 
world's  verdict  for  divorce  ?  Whom  God  hath  not 
put  together  man  may  break  asunder.  What  need 
to  write  grievances,  which  even  the  few  Conserva- 
tives in  Ireland  complain  of,  to  show  the  inj  ustice  ot 
the  one  contracting  party  ?  But  let  us  see  if  there 
remained  not  some  cause  of  discontent  for  even 
those   who  loved  not  revolution,  and  ignored  the 


proposition  that  their  country  was  compelled  to  a 
relationship  with  another,  which  she  hated,  and  who 
reciprocated  the  emotion.  Yes,  even  these  quarrelled 
at  a  state  of  things  which  had  led  to  the  loss  by  Ire- 
land of  her  position  as  a  manufacturing  country,  and 
to  her  absolute  dependence  on  England  for  manu- 
factures in  exchange  for  her  agricultural  produce — 
and  at  the  subjection  of  the  people  to  a  landlord 
class,  of  English  descent  and  English  affiliation 
whose  first  and  last  duty  was  the  exercise  of  a  per- 
petual drainage  upon  their  tenantry,  that  they  might 
spend  the  proceeds  in  that  country  of  their  affection 
(the  rental  estimated  as  paid  to  absentee  landlords 
being  about  thirty  millions  of  dollars  annually),  and 
that,  as  a  matter  of  necessity,  paid  in  the  produce  of 
the  soil — and  at  the  existence  of  a  State  Church, 
sustained  by  the  presence  of  British  bayonets  (pol- 
ished and  kept  in  point  by  Irish  taxes),  only  for  the 
especial  comfort  of  English  clergymen,  the  younger 
sons  of  English  aristocrats,  or  older  ones,  who,  from 
deficiency  in  mental  gifts,  were  supposed  to  be  fit- 
ted for  nothing  better,  and  thrown  into  the  well 
feathered  bosom  of  the  Church  in  Ireland — and  at 
the  collection  and  absorption  of  the  revenues  of  Ire- 
land by  English  officials,  who,  having  amassed  for- 
tunes amidst  Irish  poverty,  retired  for  their  enjoy- 
ment to  their  native  island,  or  their  expedition  to 
the  Continent,  giving  place  to  others  of  their  kin- 
dred to  begin  and  end  in  doing  likewise — and 
at  the  presence  in  the  country  of  from  twenty 
to  fifty  thousand  British  soldiers,  a  militia  at  the 
beck  and  call  of  the  English  Government,  a 
police  force  of  ten  thousand  men   supposed  to   be 


loyal  also,  and  supported  by  an  over-burdened  and 
impoverished  people — and,  to  sum  up,  at  the  state  of 
things  to  which  all  this  gave  rise,  which,  while  they 
had  no  hand  in  it,  in  fact  ignored  it  altogether,  was 
a  state  of  things  these  peace-preserving,  patient, 
peaceful,  conservative  people  did  not  like  ;  we  mean 
that  state  of  feeling  all  around  them  which  was  fos- 
tered in  secret  societies,  and  which  any  day  again 
might  develop  itself  in  outbreak  and  rebellion ;  in 
fact,  a  state  of  terrorism  which  they  feared  had  as- 
sumed a  chronic  character,  and  which,  alas!  (said 
they)  was  ruinous  to  all  projects  for  the  develop- 
ment and  industrial  progress  of  the  country.  So 
those  who  were  most  content  had,  at  least,  all  these 
things  to  complain  of. 

For  a  time  it  looked  as  if  the  priests  were  right, 
and  that  the  people  thought  so.  Submission  to  the 
powers  that  be,  was  a  doctrine  easy  to  preach  and 
of  easy  practice,  and  the  rendering  unto  Caesar  of 
the  things  that  are  Caesar's  was  easy  too,  for  there 
was  but  little  to  give  him  now,  and  he  was  kind 
enough  to  come  and  take  it. 

Well,  it  is  now  eighteen  years  since  the  protest  of 
'48  ;  what  has  been  going  on  since  then  ?  Since  then 
the  happy  Irish  people  have  been  flying  from  a 
country  for  which  they  have  given  some  evidences 
of  their  affection,  as  if  their  God  had  left  it ;  per- 
haps He  has,  and  they  have  set  out  ujDon  a  pilgrim- 
age to  find  Him. 

The  population  of  Ireland  in  1846  numbered  nine 
million  souls ;  to-day  it  is  estimated  at  four  millions 
five  hundred  thousand.  Of  these,  three  millions 
have  found  a  home  in  America ;  for  the  balance,  and 


the  natural  increase  unaccounted  for,  ask  Ireland's 
guardians,  and  the  Poor  Law  guardians,  and  the 
graveyards  without  walls  (they  are  too  wide  for 
that),  in  Skull,  and  Skibbereen,  and  Connemara,  and 
the  ditches  at  whose  side  the  starving  wretches  lay 
down  and  died  in  Donegal. 

Whole  villages  have  disappeared;  homesteads 
which  had  stood  for  a  hundred  years  or  more  have 
fallen  in  the  south  and  west  in  every  parish,  and 
stone  fences  have  been  piled  up  from  their  rums  to 
keep  in  herds  of  sheep  for  the  English  market  as  of 
old,  but  tended  this  time  by  English  or  Scotch  shep- 
herds, and  owned  by  English  farmers.  The  whole 
agricultural  portion  of  the  country  is  becoming  as 
rapidly  Anglicised  as  the  best  diplomacy  of  England 
can  effect  for  her  this  wished-for  change. 

America  is  now  the  hope  of  most  of  the  peasantry ; 
their  only  wish  to  rake  out  the  dead  ashes  on  their 
hearth-stones,  leave  the  widow^'s  and  the  orphan's  and 
the  exile's  curse  for  the  incoming  tenant,  and  follow 
the  star  of  their  new  destiny  to  the  West. 

And  those  behind,  and  who  must  remain  behind, 
what  of  them  ?  Those  without  the  paltry  means  to 
pay  their  own  and  their  wives'  and  children's  passage, 
without  friends  on  this  side  to  give  them  help  ? 
What  of  those  who  take  things  as  they  come — good 
and  bad — and  make  the  best  of  them  ?  What  of 
those,  and  they  are  many,  who  would  rather  starve, 
or  fight  and  die  in  Ireland,  than  live  in  Eden,  if  that 
Eden  were  unbounded  by  the  Atlantic  Ocean  on  the 
west,  and  on  the  east  by  the  Irish  Sea  ?  What  of  those 
during  these  eighteen  years,  from  '48  to  ''QQ'i  Are 
they  beaten  to  the  ground  at  last  ?     Do  they  accept 


this  state  of  things  without  a  murmur  ?  Did  the 
last  demonstration  of  discontent  die  a  miserable  death 
at  Ballingarry?  Did  their  last  hope  for  Irish  re- 
demption pass  away  with  the  exiled  confederates  ? 
Not  so,  by  the  immortal  and  rebellious  memories  of 
Fitzgerald,  of  Emmet,  and  of  Tone !  Not  so,  by 
the  memories  of  the  men  of  Forty-eight !  As  faith- 
ful as  the  shamrock  to  the  soil  is  the  seed  of  revolution ! 
There  is  still  another  protest;  and  its  history  is 
found  in  the  following  pages,  linked  with  the  name 
of  Stephens.  Whatever  may  be  the  immediate  fo]>N, 
tunes  of  the  organization  in  which  this  protest  has 
taken  shape,  whatever  its  trials  and  its  sacrifices,  and 
however  long  delayed  the  consummation  of  its  pur- 
pose, let  us  hope  that  this  indeed  will  be  the  last 
protest  of  the  Irish  people  against  English  rule. 
''^TLet  us  hope  that  out  of  the  misunderstandings  and 
divisions  which  have  unfortunately  arisen  among 
Irishmen  in  America,  a  perfect  union  may  be  born, 
no  less  strong  on  account  of  their  brief  estrange- 
ment ;  and  that  plans  of  concerted  action  with  their 
fellow-countrymen  at  home  may  be  matured  and 
brought  to  issue.  The  presence  among  Irishmen  in 
America,  who,  however  differing  in  opinion,  have  a 
common  object  in  view,  of  the  man  whose  whole  life 
is  one  of  sacrifice  to  his  love  of  country,  ought  to 
smooth  away  all  difficulties,  and  reunite  in  one  com- 
mon brotherhood  all  patriotic  Irishmen  of  whatever 
creed  or  complexion  of  opinion.  It  is  as  difficult  to  see 
how  uniformity  of  action  is  to  be  arrived  at  except 
through  the  instrumentality  of  this  man,  as  it  is  to 
entertain  the  shadow  of  a  hope  for  the  immediate 

delivery  of  Ireland  without  union. 



Irishmen  in  Ireland — those  in  prison  there  (some 
of  them  doomed  to  a  long  life's  exile),  those  who, 
although  not  yet  within  the  greedy  grasp  of  English 
law,  are  surrounded  by  the  snares  of  the  spoiler,  and 
those  who  wait  with  patient,  hopeful  hearts  and 
ready  arms  the  signal  for  united  action — all  look  for- 
ward for  their  own  and  their  country's  salvation  to 
the  cooperation  of  their  countrymen  in  America,  with 
their  envoy  and  chief,  James  Stephens. 


-swn<w  ««^ '■^" 



James  Stephens  was  born  in  the  beautiful 
city  of  Kilkenny,  Ireland,  ^in  the  year  1824.  His 
father  was  a  man  of  considerable  intelligence,  who, 
in  addition  to  his  yearly  income  for  services  rendered 
as  clerk,  was  possessed  of  some  small  property.  At 
a  very  early  age,  James  manifested  an  unusual 
thirst  for  knowledge,  and  notably  a  wonderful 
,  aptitude  for  mathematics.  His  father  took  delight 
in  affording  him  every  opportunity  for  study.  He 
required  but  little  assistance  from  teachers,  his 
active  and  inquiring  mind  readily  seizing  upon  and 
comprehending  the  ideas  laid  down  in  the  works  of 
his  favorite  authors.  From  the  age  of  sixteen  to 
twenty-two  he  was  leading  the  life  of  a  recluse, 
going  into  society  scarcely  at  all,  forming  but  few 
acquaintances,  and  living  solely  with  his  books.  He 
became  thoroughly  familiar  with  English  literature, 
and  also  acquired  great  proficiency  in  the  liberal 
sciences.  His  early  love  for  mathematics  had 
been  amply  encouraged,  and  he  finally  resolved  to 
study  Civil  Engineering,  and  adopt  that  as  his  pro- 
fession. He  readily  obtained  a  position  upon  the 
Waterford  and  Limerick  Railway,  where  his  genius 
and  skill  soon  won  for  him  considerable  distinction. 



It  was  about  this  time  that  Smith  O'Brien  be- 
came prominent  as  a  revolutionary  agitator.  The 
English  Government  had  become  more  arrogant 
and  oppressive  than  ever,  and  Irishmen  believed 
that  the  proper  time  had  arrived  to  strike  for  Ire- 
land's freedom.  The  early  education  of  Mr.  Ste- 
phens, together  with  his  extensive  reading,  had 
tended  to  make  him  a  thorough  Republican  at 
heart.  His  sympathies  were  all  enlisted  in  favor  of 
his  suffering  country,  but  his  extreme  youth  had 
hitherto  prevented  him  from  taking  any  active  part 
in  the  agitation  then  progressing.  The  revolution- 
ary spirit  of  his  countrymen  was  catered  to  by 
factious  leaders,  and  there  were  divisions  and  dis- 
sensions in  the  ranks  of  the  patriots.  Mr.  Stephens 
watched  all  movements  with  anxiety  and  apprehen- 
sion, holding  as  yet  aloof  from  all  parties,  and  sanc- 
tioning the  policy  of  neither;  yet  resolved  to  act 
when  the  proper  time  should  arrive. 


In  1848,  Smith  O'Brien's  poHcy  led  to  open  hos- 
tilities, and  Mr.  Stephens  hastened  to  join  his  gal- 
lant band.  The  means  whereby  he  was  introduced 
to  that  unfortunate  patriot  were  peculiar. 

Mr.  Patrick  Donahue,  from  Dublin,  while  visiting- 
Kilkenny,  conducted  himself  in  such  a  manner  as 
to  induce  certain  club-men  to  believe  that  he  was 
neither  more  nor  less  than  a  British  spy.  He  was 
accordingly  seized  and  subjected  to  a  rigid  exami- 
nation. Being  unable  to  give  a  satisfactory  account 
of  himself,  it  was  resolved  to  send  him  direct  to 
Smith  O'Brien  under  guard.     The  person  selected 


as  custodian  of  the  suspected  individual  was  James 
Stephens.  He  accordingly  started  for  Cashel  with 
his  prisoner,  and  after  much  difficulty  and  many 
adventures,  delivered  him  to  the  Revolutionary 
Chief  in  person;  O'Brien  was  pleased  with  this 
exhibition  of  vigilance  and  zeal,  and  became  speed- 
ily interested  in  Mr.  Stephens.  Finding  in  him  a 
zealous  patriot,  an  intelligent  counsellor,  and  a 
thorough  gentleman,  he  immediately  attached  him 
to  his  person  as  an  aide-de-camp.  The  more  severely 
the  young  man  was  tested,  and  the  greater  the  re- 
sponsibility cast  upon  him,  the  brighter  shone  his 
ability  and  his  genius. 

At  the  Widow  McCormick's  house,  where  the 
most  serious  outbreak  of  the  '48  rebellion  occurred, 
Mr.  Stephens  played  a  most  conspicuous  part,  and 
from  that  day  became  a  recognised  leader  of  the 
people.  On  one  occasion,  during  those  momentous 
days  of  '48,  at  Killenaule,  he,  at  the  head  of  a  few 
brave  men,  successfully  defended  a  barricade  against 
a  troop  of  English  horse,  repelling  their  charge  most 

It  has  been  often  reported,  and  is  generally  be- 
lieved, that  Mr.  Stephens  was  wounded  at  the  en- 
gagement at  the  Widow  McCormick's  house.  This 
is  a  mistake.  The  rebels  being  defeated  at  this  point, 
and  scattered  to  the  four  winds,  their  leaders  sought 
safety  in  a  retired  spot  a  short  distance  from  the 
scene  of  the  day's  action.  It  was  at  this  latter  place 
where,  after  the  reverses  which  had  overtaken  them, 
Smith  O'Brien  and  his  chief  advisers  assembled. 
They  were  now  surrounded  completely  by  the 
British  soldiers,  and  there  seemed  little  doubt  that 


they  would  all  be  taken  prisoners  at  daylight  next 
morning.  Here  were  Smith  O'Brien,  Michael 
Doheny,  John  O'Mahony,  Bellew  McManiis,  James 
Stephens,  and  a  few  other  brave  patriots  whose 
names  are  dear  to  all  Irishmen.  A  council  of  war 
was  held  to  decide  what  was  next  to  be  done.  The 
cause  of  Ireland  had  met  with  a  deadly  blow — the 
premature  rising  of  a  small  handful  of  half-starved, 
unarmed  peasantry,  had  ended  in  their  complete 
rout,  and  consequent  discouragement.  The  leaders 
appreciated  the  situation,  and  this  council  was  to 
determine  what  should  be  their  future  line  of  con- 
duct. By  remaining  together  they  would  be  sure  to 
fall  into  the  hands  of  their  enemies,  while  by  separat- 
ing there  seemed  a  possibility  of  their  escape. 

After  consultation,  all  but  two  of  these  brave 
men  decided  that  it  was  useless  to  pursue  the 
outbreak  further  at  this  time,  but  that  a  few 
weeks  must  be  allowed  to  pass  by  for  the  har- 
vesting of  the  crops  before  further  demonstrations 
should  be  made.  The  two  who  dissented  from 
this  policy  were  Terence  McManus  and  James  Ste- 
phens. They  believed  in  action  then  and  there,  and 
volunteered  to  remain  to  the  last  with  their  chief, 
Smith  O'Brien.  The  others  determined  to  return  to 
their  several  homes,  and  there  keep  alive  the  revolu- 
tionary spirit. 

The  parting  of  these  leaders,  as  each  went  his  way 
endeavoring  to  escape  the  eye  of  the  British  police, 
was  very  affecting.  None  expected  to  survive  the 
dangers  by  which  they  were  surrounded,  and  the 
"farewell"  stuck  in  the  throats  of  most  of  them. 
Mr.  Stephens  found  himself  the  object  of  the  kindest 


solicitude  on  the  part  of  all,  on  account  of  his  youth 
and  the  prominent  and  somewhat  reckless  part  he 
had  played.  O'Mahony,  particularly,  displayed 
great  interest  in  him,  and  gave  Lim  directions  where 
to  meet  him  again,  and  what  route  to  pursue. 


Thus  they  parted ;  Smith  O'Brien,  McManus,  and 
Stephens  remaining  where  they  were,  the  others 
departing  by  different  roads.  Mr.  Stephens  shortly 
learned  that  a  body  of  police  were  on  the  road  ap- 
proaching the  house.  He  being  provided  with  a 
horse,  persuaded  O'Brien  to  mount ;  then  taking 
from  his  head  the  plain  cap  he  wore,  exchanged  it  for 
the  gaudy  green  and  gold  one  worn  by  his  chief,  and 
entreated  him  to  make  sure  his  safety  by  flight. 
O'Brien  took  the  advice  of  his  devoted  Aide,  and 
bidding  him  good-by,  hastened  off. 

Mr.  Stephens  then  turned  his  own  steps  towards  the 
approaching  police.  Falling  in  with  ten  or  twelve 
fugitive  rebels  who  had  been  defeated  in  the  pre- 
vious skirmish,  he  prevailed  upon  them  to  make  a 
stand  against  the  coming  posse.  He  felt  assured 
that  if,  even  at  that  late  hour,  a  small  victory  could 
be  obtained,  thousands  would  flock  to  his  standard, 
and  the  rising  would  become  general  throughout 
the  land. 

The  "peelers"  advanced  upon  the  rebels  and 
were  received  with  a  volley  from  the  few  old  muskets 
which  they  possessed.  The  pursuing  body  returned 
the  fire,  killing  and  wounding  several  of  the  patriots. 
Those  who  remained  uninjured  immediately  scat- 
tered.   Mr.  Stephens  was  among  the  wounded.    He 


had  received  one  bullet  through  the  fleshy  part  of 
the  right  thigh,  and  another  had  inflicted  a  contu- 
sion upon  the  left  hip,  which  caused  him  great  pain. 
Seeing  his  comrades  flying  in  every  direction,  he 
attempted  to  get  over  a  ditch,  when  he  was  saluted 
with  another  volley  from  the  police,  several  bullets 
passing  through  his  clothes.  He  fell  as  if  killed,  and 
the  police  passed  on  thinking  him  dead,  and  so  they 
reported  to  their  officers  and  the  populace.  After 
having  bandaged  his  wound  and  made  sure  that  it 
was  safe  for  him  to  venture  forth  once  more,  the 
wounded  leader  started  across  the  fields  for  a  neigh- 
boring town.  On  his  way  he  encountered  a  peasant, 
with  whom  he  exchanged  clothes  to  prevent  detection. 


A  little  touch  of  romance  saved  him  from  being 
captured  and  sharing  the  fate  of  O'Brien,  McManus, 
and  others  of  his  comrades.  While  following  his 
profession,  he  had  encountered  in  Tipperary  a  young 
lady  whose  bright  eyes  had  made  sad  havoc  with  the 
heart  of  the  youthful  patriot.  Now,  wounded, 
weary,  disheartened,  and  an  outlaw,  he  resolved  once 
more  to  seek  his  lady-love,  and  receive  from  her  one 
fond  adieu  before  seeking  O'Mahony  and  his  fellow- 
conspirators  in  their  retirement.  He  knew  the 
dangers  he  would  encounter  by  the  way ;  for  the 
British  soldiers  and  police  were  searching  every 
nook  and  corner,  and  dragging  to  prison  the  unfor- 
tunate participants  in  the  events  of  the  past  few 
weeks.  But  bright  eyes  lured  him  on,  and  he  knew 
a  hearty  welcome  awaited  him  in  that  distant  town. 
And  did  he  not  have  a  beautiful  precedent  in  the 


course  pursued  by  one  whose  sorrowful  history  had 
ever  been  full  of  interest  to  him — the  noble  Robert 
Emmet,  who,  refusing  to  go  on  board  the  ship  which 
was  waiting  to  take  him  to  sea  until  he  should  say 
good-by  to  the  girl  of  his  heart,  was  captured  while 
receiving  her  last  embrace,  and  was  led  away  to 
prison  and  the  scaffold  ?  Having  this  bright  example 
before  his  eyes,  young  Stephens  set  out  upon  his 
journey  to  Tipperary,  having  hired  a  cart  to  trans- 
port him.  At  one  little  town  through  which  he 
passed  on  the  same  day  he  found  the  streets  full  of 
excited  citizens.  They  had  heard  of  the  fight  at  the 
Widow  McCormick's,  and  rumor  having  given  the 
victory  to  the  rebels,  the  people  were  anxious  to  join 
their  brothers  in  the  field.  At  their  head  was  the 
parish  priest,  urging  them  to  return  to  their  homes 
and  remain  quiet.  Mr.  Stephens  listened  to  the 
reverend  speaker  a  few  moments,  and  then  approach- 
ing him,  demanded  the  privilege  of  speaking  to  the 
crowd.  The  priest  refused  to  listen  to  him,  but  de- 
nounced him  as  a  spy.  Thereupon  the  excitement 
became  intense,  and  the  denounced  individual  was 
in  danger  of  being  torn  to  pieces.  At  this  critical 
moment  a  young  man  in  the  crowd  recognised  Mr. 
Stephens,  and  throwing  himself  in  front  of  him,  com- 
pelled the  mob  to  listen  to  what  he  had  to  say.  A 
few  words  sutficed  to  inform  them  of  all  that  had 
occurred  at  the  Widow  McCormick's,  whereupon  a 
revulsion  of  feeling  came  over  the  crowd,  and  he 
was  as  near  being  killed  by  their  kindness  as  he  had 
been  before  by  their  pikes  and  scythes.  The  young 
rebel  was  carried  in  triumj^h  through  the  streets,  and 

finally  sent  on  his  way  to  Tipperary  rejoicing. 



After  many  adventures  and  several  narrow  escapes 
from  falling  into  the  clutches  of  the  vigilant  police, 
Mr.  Stephens  reached  the  house  of  his  lady-love. 
Here  he  passed  three  delightful  days,  receiving  that 
kind  nursing  and  watchful  care  which  his  wounded 
condition  rendered  necessary.  But  few  visitors  were 
allowed  to  approach  the  house,  and  nearly  all  those 
who  were  accorded  that  privilege  were  young  ladies, 
whose  sympathy  for  the  wounded  rebel  would  doubt- 
less have  kept  him  confined  for  weeks  longer,  had 
not  his  place  of  concealment  become  suspected.  An 
Irish  magistrate,  whose  meddling  curiosity  was  of 
the  Paul  Pry  order,  having  ascertained  that  a 
fugitive  rebel  was  in  his  vicinity,  set  inquiries  on 
foot  which  rendered  the  place  too  hot  for  the  young 
and  romantic  enthusiast.  He  accordingly  bade  an 
affectionate  farewell  to  the  pride  of  his  heart,  and 
started  once  more  upon  his  wanderings.  Departing 
from  his  comfortable  quarters,  where  youth  and 
beauty  had  ministered  to  his  wants,  he  slept  that 
night  in  the  open  air  beside  a  hedge,  with  a  stone 
for  a  pillow. 

From  this  time  he  shaped  his  way  according  to 
the  directions  given  him  by  John  O'Mahony,  and 
soon  joined  that  gentleman  and  Michael  Doheny  in 
their  retired  retreat.  The  report  that  Stephens  was 
killed  at  the  fight  at  Widow  McCormick's  house  was 
generally  believed,  his  friends  doing  their  utmost  to 
gain  credence  for  it.  His  father  aided  in  circulating 
the  report,  and  even  went  so  far  as  to  get  up  a  mock 
funeral  for  the  unfortunate  lad,  and  buried  an  empty 
coffin  with  all  the  honors.  A  little  later  Mr.  Ste- 
phens had  the  pleasure  of  reading  in  the  London 


Times^  a  full  report  of  his  own  funeral,  written  on 
the  spot,  "  by  our  own  correspondent.'' 

His  rumored  death  contributed  much  towards  his 
escape  from  Tipperary,  and  finally  from  his  native 
land.  He  nevertheless  was  compelled  to  use  extreme 
caution  in  all  his  movements,  and  on  more  than  one 
occasion  was  all  his  ingenuity  called  into  requisition 
to  enable  him  to  escape  the  clutches  of  government 
officials.  Arriving  at  the  home  of  O'Mahony,  he 
found  it  surrounded  by  the  police.  In  company  with 
that  gentleman,  however,  he  succeeded  in  evading 
their  vigilance,  and  the  two  outlaws  made  their  way 
to  a  small  cabin  on  the  mountain  side,  near  Carrick- 
on-Suir,  where  they  found  Michael  Doheny  quietly 
awaiting  intelligence  of  his  friends.  This  patriot  had 
alsp  encountered  many  wild  adventures  during  the 
few  weeks  just  gone  by,  which  have  been  given  to 
the  world  in  a  book  written  by  himself. 



On  the  morning  following  the  events  detailed 
above,  the  three  conspirators — James  Stephens, 
O'Mahony,  and  Doheny — for  the  heads  of  two  of 
whom  the  British  Government  had  ofiered  a  large 
reward — crossed  the  Suir  before  daybreak,  and 
made  their  way  to  the  Comeragh  Mountains. 

Here  they  spent  several  days,  not  daring  to  ven- 
ture forth,  or  attempt  to  hold  communication  with 
their  friends.  A  few  trusted  peasants  alone  knew 
of  their  retreat,  and  from  these  they  derived  their 
subsistence  and  their  knowledge  of  passing  events. 
While  here,  and  livmg  thus,  outlaws  in  their  native 


land,  their  footsteps  dogged  by  emissaries  of  a 
government  they  loathed,  these  men  resolved  to 
devote  their  lives  to  the  liberation  of  Ireland  and 
the  overthrow  of  the  power  of  England.  The  re- 
volutionary spirit  of  their  countrymen  was  crushed 
out  for  the-  present,  and  the  poor  enslaved  people 
had  returned  to  the  old  ways,  discouraged  and 
demoralized.  British  rulers  and  British  landlords 
were  becoming  every  day  more  exacting  and  over- 
bearing, but  mismanagement,  defeat,  imprisonment, 
and  famine,  had  so  disheartened  the  people  that  no 
hope  could  be  entertained  of  another  rising  at  that 
time.  A  few  years  more  must  elapse,  and  new 
leaders,  with  more  practical  and  more  advanced 
ideas,  must  arise  to  inspire  confidence  in  the  hearts 
of  the  people.  They  must  be  organized.  In  the 
last  days  they  had  shown  the  proper  spirit,  but  there 
had  been  no  organization,  and  the  people,  when 
called  to  action,  came  forth  as  a  mob,  which  could 
neither  be  used  nor  controlled.  This  must  be  reme- 
died ;  the  entire  nation  must  be  united  in  one  mass 
of  thoroughly  drilled  soldiers,  before  there  could  be 
any  hope  of  a  successful  revolution.  This  was  the 
feeling  of  Mr.  Stephens  as  he  and  his  companion 
pursued  their  lonely  wanderings  on  Comeragh 
Mountains,  and  he  resolved  to  bide  his  time.  But 
that  such  organization  should  be  made,  and  another 
blow  for  Irish  freedom  struck,  he  not  only  firmly 
resolved,  but  to  the  accomplishment  of  that  purpose 
henceforth  devoted  his  life  and  his  fortunes. 

Great  difficulty  was  experienced  by  Doheny  and 
Stephens  in  their  attempts  to  leave  Ireland.  So 
determined  was  the  British  government  to  secure 


the  arrest  of  all  who  had  been  engaged  in  the  late 
revolt,  that  patrols  of  soldiery  and  police  were  scour- 
ing road  and  field  in  their  efforts  to  capture  fugi- 
tives. Not  a  house,  barn,  or  hay-rick  in  that  portion 
of  the  country  escaped  search  from  the  ofiicers  of 
the  law.  It  finally  became  necessary  for  their  own 
safety,  that  Doheny  and  Stephens  should  separate, 
and  each  in  his  own  way  endeavor  to  escape  from 
their  native  land.  They  accordingly  did  so,  and 
taking  different  routes,  each  strove  to  reach  some 
Irish  seaport  town.  After  having  encountered  many 
adventures  and  hairbreadth  escapes,  Mr.  Stephens 
reached  Cork,  without  having  assumed  any  disguise. 
By  a  strange  coincidence,  which  did  not  end  here, 
Doheny  arrived  on  the  same  day,  disguised  as  a 
hog-drover.  Each,  unknown  to  the  other,  engaged 
passage  for  England ;  they  sailed  on  different  schoon- 
ers ;  left  the  harbor  on  the  same  day ;  arrived  in  Eng- 
land on  the  same  day,  and  finally  entered  France  on 
the  same  day,  at  different  ports ;  neither,  during  all 
the  time  occupied  in  performing  this  journey,  knew 
aught  of  the  whereabouts  or  fate  of  the  other,  and 
it  was  not  until  nearly  a  month  had  elapsed  after 
their  arrival  in  Paris  that  they  came  in  contact.  Here, 
the  resolves  made  upon  the  mountain  were  renew- 
ed, and  each,  in  his  own  way,  devoted  himself  to  the 
accomplishment  of  the  great  object  they  had  in  view. 
In  an  account  of  their  trials  and  tribulations,  which 
was  afterwards  published  by  Doheny  in  a  volume 
(The  Felon's  Track),  that  distinguished  rebel  thus 
speaks  of  Stephens  and  the  way  he  bore  himself 
under  the  trying  circumstances  to  which  both  were 
so  long  exposed : 


"  My  comrade,  who  had  no  life  to  lose  but  his  own,  and  who 
of  that  was  recklessly  prodigal,  provided  he  could  dispose  of  it 
to  good  account,  stepped  blithely  along  and  uttered  no  complaint, 
although  he  left  behind  him  traces  marked  with  blood.  His  ter- 
rible indifterence  soon  restored  my  self-possession,  and  we  found 
shelter  for  the  night.  *  *  *  *  His  imperturbable  equani- 
mity and  ever-daring  hope  had  sustained  me  in  moments  of  per- 
plexity and  alarm,  when  no  other  resource  could  have  availed. 
During  the  whole  time  which  we  spent,  as  it  were,  in  the  shadow 
of  the  gibbet,  his  courage  never  faltered  and  his  temper  never 
once  ruffled." — Extracts  from  ^^  Felon's  Track." 

While  Doheny  amused  himself  in  writing  ballads 
on  such  scraps  of  paper  as  chanced  in  his  way, 
Stephens  enlivened  the  tedious  hours  of  their 
involuntary  wanderings  with  song  and  jest.  His 
spirits  were  high,  and  his  fund  of  humor  never 


Mr.  Stephens'  hunger  for  knowledge  had  never 
been  satiated,  and  knowing  full  well  that  he 
had  much  to  acquire  to  fit  himself  to  be  a  suc- 
cessful leader  of  a  popular  revolution,  he  imme- 
diately on  his  arrival  in  Paris  again  returned  to  his 
books.  Shutting  himself  up  in  his  own  quiet  room, 
he  pursued  his  studies  unremittingly,  ignoring  so- 
ciety almost  -entirely,  and  forming  only  such  ac- 
quaintances as  would  contribute  to  the  fulfilment  of 
his  plans.  He  was  often  cramped  for  even  the 
necessaries  of  life,  but  by  means  of  occasional  ser- 
vices rendered  to  literary  and  professional  friends,  he 
obtained  sufiicient  for  his  actual  needs.  For  more 
than  seven  weary  years  did  he  remain  in  Paris,  and 
nearly  the  whole  of  that  time  was  devoted  to  his 
studies  and  in  attendance  upon  lectures  on  the  natu- 
ral sciences,  philology,  and  literature.     He  became 


distinguished  as  a  linguist,  being  able  to  read  readily 
in  sixteen  different  languages.  During  the  latter 
portion  of  his  residence  in  Paris,  he  had  contributed 
to  the  daily  and  weekly  journals,  his  articles  excit- 
ing much  comment  and  admiration  in  the  literary 
world.  He  also  translated  Charles  Dickens'  "Mar- 
tin Chuzzlewit "  into  French,  and  had  it  published 
in  that  language.  This  added  much  to  his  literary 
fame,  and  contributed  not  a  little  to  his  purse.  It 
has  often  been  stated  that  during  these  seven  years 
in  Paris,  Mr.  Stephens  became  identified  with  secret 
political  societies,  whose  object  was  the  overthrow 
of  the  French  government.  This  assertion  is  not 
true.  While  he  lost  no  opportunity  of  familiarizing 
himself  with  the  revolutionary  leaders,  and  the  prin- 
ciples and  ideas  which  they  advanced,  he  never  was 
initiated  into  any  of  the  secret  societies.  He  was 
too  much  occupied  with  thoughts  of  his  own  un- 
happy country  and  in  schemes  for  her  delivery  from 
the  British  yoke  to  become  involved  in  the  affairs 
of  his  neighbors. 


Early  in  185*7  he,  believing  the  hour  propitious 
for  the  commencement  of  those  plans  which  he  had 
been  so  long  maturing,  set  out  for  England.  His 
ideas  of  organization  at  this  time  were  more  com- 
prehensive than  ever  before  or  since,  and  contem- 
plated not  only  the  liberation  of  his  own  native  land, 
but  the  complete  overthrow  of  British  rule  wher- 
ever found.  To  this  end  he  proposed  beginning 
his  labors  in  London  by  the  establishment  of  a  daily 
newspaper  opposed  to  the  government,  and  repub- 


lican  in  its  views.  He  also  sought  to  establish  secret 
societies  among  Englishmen  and  Irishmen  in  Eng- 
land, to  imbue  their  minds  with  republican  ideas, 
and  finally,  to  so  spread  the  societies  and  the  ideas 
that  they  should  result  in  the  overthrow  of  the  Bri 
tish  government  at  home  and  in  all  her  provinces 
and  in  the  establishment  of  republican  forms  of  go- 
vernment. After  a  short  stay  in  London,  however, 
Mr.  Stephens*  health  became  so  bad  that  he  was 
obliged  to  return  to  his  native  land,  and  abandon 
his  plans.  His  severe  study  in  Paris  had  made  sad 
inroads  upon  his  constitution.  His  medical  advisers 
informed  him  that  nothing  but  a  speedy  return  to 
Ireland  would  save  his  life.  Reluctantly  he  aban- 
doned the  field  which  had  promised  so  fair  a  har- 
vest, and  in  a  short  time  again  pressed  the  sod  of 
his  beloved  isle. 


He  allowed  himself  but  a  short  time  for  rest, 
however.  His  was  not  a  spirit  to  remain  in  idleness. 
His  countrymen  were  being  oppressed,  impoverished, 
and  driven  by  thousands  from  the  land  of  their 
birth  to  seek  the  protecting  shelter  and  the  homes 
and  liberty  afforded  them  upon  the  soil  of  America. 
Positions  of  trust  and  emolument  were  offered  him 
by  those  who  feared  his  genius  and  his  revolutionary 
spirit.  They  thought  by  tempting  offers  of  pecuniary 
assistance  to  win  him  from  the  purpose  he  had 
espoused  under  such  trying  circumstances.  All  these 
attempts  were  persistently  set  aside  by  him,  and 
he  resolved  to  ascertain  for  himself,  by  personal 
observation,   the     state    of    the    country   and   the 


sentiments  of  the  people.  Provided  simply  with 
his  knapsack  and  staff,  he  started  out  npon  this 
tour,  nor  did  he  return  again  until  every  town 
and  every  hamlet  in  the  whole  of  Ireland  had 
been  visited.  Alone  and  on  foot  he  travelled 
from  one  extreme  of  the  Island  to  the  other,  talking 
with  the  farmer,  the  peasant,  and  the  laborer — 
sleeping  in  their  cabins,  and  partaking  of  their 
poor  and  scanty  fare.  Their  grievances  were  related 
and  sympathized  with  ;  the  farmer  told  how  the 
landlord  oppressed  him,  and  how  he  took  from  him 
the  last  cent  he  could  earn  to  pay  the  rent  of  a  bit 
of  bog  and  a  leaky  cabin,  and  how  he  was  some- 
times turned  out  of  even  that  wretched  home 
because  he  couldn't  make  enough  from  the  soil 
to  pay  that  rent.  The  laborer  told  of  hard  work 
and  scanty  pay.  All  complained  of  the  rise  of  rents 
and  the  exorbitant  taxes  they  were  forced  to  pay 
to  support  a  church  and  clergy  they  did  not  believe 
in.  He  found  the  old  spirit  of  revolution  still 
alive  in  their  breasts;  it  slumbered,  but  was  not 
dead.  They  were  ready  to  strike  for  their  freedom 
if  only  the  proper  leaders  could  be  found,  and  the 
proper  organization  effected. 


Mr.  Stephens'  travels  afoot  occupied  him  one 
year,  during  which  time  he  traversed  three  thousand 
five  hundred  miles,  and  conversed  with  thousands 
of  people — the  bone  and  sinew  of  the  land — under 
their  own  roof-trees.  This  journey  rendered  him 
more  familiar  with  the  condition  of  Ireland  and  the 
true  sentiments  of  his  countrymen  than  was  any 


other  person  in  the  land.  He  returned  fully  satisfied 
that  the  time  was  ripening  for  the  blow  for  freedom 
to  be  struck,  and  he  resolved  to  prepare  for  it. 

It  was  after  this  tour  through  the  country  that  he 
first  laid  the  foundation  for  the  society  which  is  now 
known  as  the  Fenian  Brotherhood.  At  that  time 
he  gave  it  no  name  whatever,  but  strove  to  render 
the  organization  so  secret  that  the  Government 
should  obtain  no  clue  even  to  its  existence.  The 
days  of  '48  had  taught  him  tliat  no  revolutionary 
movement  in  Ireland  could  be  successful  unless  the 
people  were  thoroughly  organized,  and  each  man 
sworn,  by  a  solemn  oath,  to  obey  the  orders  of  his 
leaders.  In  the  days  of  John  Mitchel  and  Smith 
O'Brien  there  were  political  societies,  but  no  oath 
bound  the  members  together.  The  consequence 
was,  that  a  single  priest  could  scatter  a  crowd  of 
thousands  simply  with  his  denunciations.  The  peo- 
ple had  to  be  educated  to  make  a  distinction  be- 
tween the  priest  in  his  capacity  of  religious  instruc- 
tor and  the  same  individual  as  a  pohtician.  This 
was  one  of  the  objects  of  the  society  established  by 
Mr.  Stephens.  The  people  recognised  that  their 
clergy  were  opposed  to  any  attempt  by  battle  being 
made  to  secure  the  liberties  of  the  people.  They 
must  be  taught  that  all  due  respect  would  be  paid 
to  them  as  priests,  but  that  when  they  lent  the  dig- 
nity of  their  office  to  serve  political  ends,  they  put 
off  the  sanctity  of  the  robe,  and  became  as  other 
citizens,  and  were  to  be  treated  as  such.  This  les- 
son has  since  been  well  learned  by  Irishmen  at  home 
and  abroad ;  and  to-day  the  Fenian  Brotherhood, 
which  has  been  denounced  by  the  clergy  far  and 


wide,  embraces  within  its  ranks  two-thirds  of  the 
Irishmen  of  the  world.  Mr.  Stephens  established 
several  of  these  societies,  the  members  being  sworn 
not  only  to  watch  over  the  interests  of  Ireland,  but 
to  take  up  arms  for  her  whenever  called  upon  so 
to  do. 

At  Skibbereen  there  was  a  political  and  literary 
association  known  as  the  "  Phoenix  Society."  Most 
of  the  members  of  this  society  were  enrolled  by  Mr. 
Stephens,  but  retained  their  original  organization, 
designation,  and  outward  seeming  as  a  club,  for 
the  purpose  of  misleading  the  government  in  case 
its  suspicions  were  aroused.  A  British  spy,  how- 
ever, joined  their  order,  and  having  mastered  some  of 
theit  secrets,  informed  upon  them.  Many  were  ar- 
rested, and  one  conviction  followed.  The  trials 
attendant  upon  the  arrest  of  th§  Phoenix  men  creat- 
ed great  excitement  in  the  land.  These  patriots 
were  called  "  Phoenix  men  "  at  the  time  of  the  pro- 
secution, and  for  a  long  time  the  name  attached  it- 
self to  Mr.  Stephens'  secret  organization,  and  it 
even  became  familiar  in  America. 


In  December,  1858,  letters  were  brought  to  Ste- 
phens from  Michael  Doheny  and  other  friends  then 
in  America,  stating  that  their  efforts  to  establish  secret 
societies  had  been  successful,  and  that  an  order  was  in 
existence  here  with  the  object  of  eventually  afford- 
ing relief  to  Ireland.  These  gentlemen  desired  him 
to  undertake  a  similar  organization  at  home,  pro- 
mising him  such  assistance  from  this  side  the  ocean 


as  might  be  deemed  necessary.  The  experience 
gained  by  hira  during  his  pedestrian  tour,  and  the 
favor  which  his  embryo  societies  had  met  with,  con- 
vinced him  that  the  plan  was  feasible,  and  he  so  in- 
formed his  American  friends.  He  undertook  to 
organize  and  enroll  ten  thousand  fighting  men  in  the 
space  of  three  months,  on  the  condition  that  he 
should  have  the  supreme  control  of  the  revolution- 
ary movement,  and  that  the  American  auxiliaries 
should  furnish  him  funds  with  which  to  meet  the 
necessary  expenses  of  such  an  undertaking.  The 
first  of  these  conditions  Mr.  Stephens  insisted  upon 
most  strenuously.  He  was  on  the  field  where  the 
action  was  to  take  place ;  he  was  to  assume  the  re- 
sponsibility of  the  movement;  he  was  the  chief  con- 
spirator, whose  life  would  surely  be  forfeited  if  he 
fell  into  the  hands  of  the  British  government.  As- 
suming thus  the  responsibility  and  the  risk,  he  de- 
manded that  his  action  should  not  be  hampered  by 
the  dictation  of  men  whose  absence  from  the  scene 
placed  them  in  a  position  where  they  were  incapa- 
ble of  judging  of  the  necessities  of  the  hour.  His 
connexion  with  the  movement  in  '48,  and  his  sub- 
sequent studies  and  experience,  had  taught  him  that 
any  conspiracy  in  Ireland  looking  to  the  establish- 
ment of  a  republican  form  of  government,  must  not 
only  be  as  secret  as  it  could  be  made,  to  evade  the 
eye  of  British  officials,  but  must  be  governed  and 
directed  by  one  controlling  mind. 

His  friends  in  America  conceded  this  point,  and 
while  recognising  him  as  the  head  and  front  of  the 
revolutionary  movement,  promised  to  use  every 
exertion  to  secure  the  cooperation  of  their  country- 


men  here.  Under  these  circumstances  Mr.  Ste- 
phens commenced  his  labor  of  organization.  The 
societies  ah'eady  formed  were  visited  and  induced 
to  extend  their  fields  of  labor  ;  new  societies  were 
formed  where  none  had  previously  existed,  and  the 
souls  of  Irishmen  were  once  more  filled  with  hopes 
of  freedom.  They  responded  nobly  to  the  call  of 
their  beloved  chief,  entering  inta  the  societies  with 
the  full  determination  to  take  up  arms  in  defence  of 
their  rights  whenever  called  upon  so  to  do. 


In  seven  months  Mr.  Stephens  had  organized  an 
army  of  thirty  thousand  loyal  souls,  who  were 
sworn  soldiers  of  the  Irish  Republic.  So  quiet  and 
systematic  had  been  his  labors,  that  notwithstand- 
ing the  fact  that  British  spies  swarmed  in  every 
town,  the  Government  could  obtain  but  little  infor- 
mation regarding  the  organization.  That  secret 
political  societies  were  in  existence,  was  now  well 
known,  but  their  extent  could  never  be  ascertained  ; 
and  England  knew  comparatively  nothing  of  the 
formidable  conspiracy  going  on  under  her  very  eyes. 

From  St.  Patrick's  day,  the  17th  of  March,  1858, 
till  the  end  of  September  following,  Mr.  Stephens 
devoted  every  hour  to  the  task  of  perfecting  this 
organization,  and  giving  to  it  a  military  character. 


His  friends  had  promised  to  furnish  him  from 
America  from  £80  to  £100  per  month  to  enable  him 
to  complete  his  work  ;  but  the  spring  months  passed 


and  July  came  without  bringing  with  it  the  remit- 
tances from  across  the  ocean.  Less  than  £100  in 
all  was  received  by  Mr.  Stephens  from  the  time  he 
commenced  tbe  work  of  organization  to  the  1st  of 
July,  1858.  Meantime  he  had  used  in  the  work  all 
the  fmids  he  had  received  or  could  raise  upon  his 
personal  credit,  and  he  was  forced  to  behold  the 
work  of  his  hands  about  to  be  destroyed  for  the 
lack  of  that  support  which  had  been  so  confidently 
promised  him.  In  this  emergency  he  sent  a  trusted 
friend  to  America  to  consult  with  O'Mahony  and 
Doheny,  who  were  the  representatives  of  the  Irish 
movement  in  that  country.  These  gentlemen  were 
surprised  to  learn  the  extent  of  Mr.  Stephens'  or- 
ganization, but  could  show  no  corresponding  labor 
performed  here.  They,  however,  renewed  their 
assurances  of  cooperation,  but  finally  sent  the  agent 
back  nearly  as  em23ty-handed  as  he  came. 

The  result  of  this  mission  was  exceedingly  disap- 
pointing to  Mr.  Stephens  and  his  co-laborers  at 
home,  but  they  were  in  nowise  disheartened.  An- 
other long  term  of  anxious  waiting  for  the  fulfil- 
ment of  their  dream  of  liberty  must  elapse,  the 
impetuous  ardor  of  their  followers  must  be  controlled, 
and  they  be  taught  that  lesson  of  patience  which 
their  leader  had  been  conning  for  ten  weary  years. 


It  was  at  length  determined  that  Mr.  Stephens 
should  visit  America,  and  for  a  brief  period  employ 
upon  that  soil  the  talent  for  organizing  which  had 
made  him  so  powerful  at  home.  Accordingly,  in 
September,  1858,  he  landed  in  New  York,  and  for 


the  first  time  set  foot  upon  those  shores,  where  so 
many  of  his  countrymen  had  found  homes  and  for- 
tunes. He  was  met  by  O'Mahony  and  Doheny,  who 
extended  to  their  old  comrade  a  welcome  as  hearty 
as  it  was  sincere.  The  young  patriot  was  disap- 
pointed at  the  httle  progress  his  friends  had  made  in 
laying  before  his  countrymen  the  trae  state  of  Ireland. 
These  two  men,  so  brave  in  action,  so  ready  to  lead 
their  squadrons  in  the  field,  who  never  flinched  when 
death  stared  them  in  the  face,  who  laughed  defiantly 
Avhen  the  British  government  fixed  a  price  upon 
their  heads,  were  found  unequal  to  the  task  of  eli- 
citing that  sympathy  for  their  enslaved  countrymen 
which  Irish  hearts,  wherever  found,  are  so  willing  to 
pour  out  in  substantial  form,  when  properly  ap- 

Mr.  Stephens  met  many  warm  and  influential 
friends  of  the  cause  in  New  York,  but  these  gave  so 
gloomy  an  account  of  matters  here  as  to  almost  de- 
ter him  from  further  efforts.  But  he  felt  the  respon- 
sibility which  rested  upon  him,  and  knew  that  thou- 
sands of  anxious  hearts  at  home  were  beating  in 
unison  with  his,  and?  that  thousands  of  good  and 
true  men  looked  to  him  as  their  leader,  and  were 
watching  his  every  movement  with  anxious  eyes. 
He  resolved,  in  spite  of  all  opposition  which  was 
in  his  way,  to  commence  and  carry  to  success  an 
organization  here  similar  to  the  one  in  Ireland. 
O'Mahony,  Doheny,  Michael  Corcoran,  and  a  few 
other  prominent  and  patriotic  individuals  seconded  his 
efforts,  and  the  movement  was  commenced ;  the  late 
Brig.-General  Michael  Corcoran  being  the  first  man 
sworn  in  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic.     But  already 


nearly  four  months  of  precious  time  had  elapsed 
since  his  arrival  in  America — time  consumed  in  vain 
efforts  of  others  to  do  what  he  had  contemplated — 
and  his  countrymen  were  clamorous  for  his  return 
to  L'eland.  Having  at  length  gained  the  consent  of 
his  friends  here  to  proceed  in  his  own  way,  he  started 
upon  a  tour  through  the  States,  leaving  the  organi- 
zation in  New  York  in  the  hands  of  his  friends. 
His  efforts  met  with  success  everywhere.  Being  a 
plain-spoken,  energetic,  and  convincing  speaker,  he 
was  listened  to  attentively,  and  his  counsels  fol- 

The  societies  which  he  established  were  secret  in 
their  nature,  and  while  they  contemplated  the  liber- 
ation of  their  native  land  from  British  tyranny,  the 
means  he  proposed  to  accomplish  that  end  were  diffe- 
rent from  those  contemplated  by  the  home  organiza- 
tions. There,  every  member  was  a  soldier ;  here,  each 
member  was  a  contributor  to  the  support  and  equip- 
ment of  those  soldiers.  Mr.  Stephens  devoted 
only  one  month  to  this  effort,  and  at  the  end  of 
that  time  had  established  societies  in  many  of  the 
principal  towns  in  the  Ur^ed  States.  Having 
received  their  assurances  of  hearty  cooperation, 
and  having  raised  some  means,  he  returned  to  I^ew 
York,  preparatory  to  embarking  for  his  native 


While  waiting  in  New  York,  the  delegates  of 
the  societies  he  had  organized  drew  up  a  document 
conferring  upon  him  the  sole  control  of  the  Irish 
revolutionary  movement,  and  recognising  him  as 


the  head  of  all  Irish  organizations  throughout  the 
world.  Not  alone  in  Ireland  and  America  had  the 
spirit  of  revolution  taken  root,  but  the  sons  of 
Erin  in  England,  Australia,  South  America,  and,  in 
short,  all  over  the  globe,  had  become  alive  to  the 
necessities  of  the  hour,  and  were  prepared  to  play 
their  allotted  roles  in  the  coming  hour  of  peril. 
All  united  in  recognising  Mr.  Stephens  as  their 
leader,  and  to  him  intrusted  the  control  of  the 
cause  so  sacred  to  them.  Knowing  full  well  the 
responsibility  thus  put  upon  him,  he  boldly  accepted 
the  trust,  confident  of  his  ability  to  accomplish 
much,  and  to  at  least  develop  the  power  and  strength 
of  his  people. 

With  this  feeling,  and  under  these  circumstances, 
he  returned  to  Europe,  his  arrival  being  the  signal 
for  renewed  hope  throughout  the  land. 


1^0%  caring  to  return  to  his  native  land  until  he 
had  the  means  of  accomplishing  his  work  ready  to 
his  hand,  he  again  proceeded  to  Paris,  where  he 
spent  two  weary  years  waiting  for  that  assistance 
which  never  came.  Meantime,  he  was  in  constant 
communication  with  the  Societies  on  both  sides  of 
the  Atlantic,  urging  the  one  to  renewed  efforts  in 
behalf  of  their  oppressed  country,  and  to  the  other 
holding  out  hopes  of  coming  succor.  But  the  di- 
rectors of  Fenian  affairs  in  America  did  not  make 
that  exertion  among  their  countrymen  which  the 
emergency  required,  and  the  organization  which 
had  promised  so  much  became  paralysed  and  dead 
to  all  intents  and  purposes.   The  cry  went  up,  "  Why 


do  not  tlie  Irishmen  at  home  do  something  for  them- 
selves ?  "  from  men  who  should  have  known  that 
Irishmen  at  home  were  shackled  hand  and  foot  with 
British  fetters,  and  could  make  no  movement  for 
their  relief  until  their  more  fortunate  brothers  in 
foreign  lands  furnished  them  the  means  of  breaking 
their  bonds.  For  this  they  prayed,  and  this  had 
been  promised.  Those  men  who  asked  why  Ireland 
consented  to  remain  in  fetters,  never  asked  them- 
selves, "  Where  is  the  assistance  we  promised?  Where 
the  guns,  the  bayonets,  and  other  munitions  of  war 
we  were  to  furnish  ?  "  They  preferred  to  quietly 
fold  their  hands  and  complain  that  others  did  not 
do  that  which  they  themselves  had  stipulated  to  ac- 

The  entire  sum  of  money  sent  to  Mr.  Stephens 
from  America  during  the  first  six  years  following 
his  efforts  in  1858  did  not  exceed  £1,500.  Had  it 
not  been  that  Irishmen  at  home,  from  their  own  piti- 
ful savings,  contributed  ten  times  that  amount, 
the  revolutionary  spirit  could  not  have  been  kept 
alive  one  single  year — it  would  have  died  a  natural 
death  from  want  of  encouragement. 

During  all  the  years  which  have  passed  since  Mr. 
Stephens  devoted  his  life  to  the  cause  of  Ireland,  he 
has  never,  up  to  the  present  time,  applied  to  his  own 
use  one  dollar  of  the  amount  contributed  to  secure 
the  freedom  of  his  native  land.  Not  only  has  he 
refused  to  defray  his  own  expenses  from  the  public 
funds,  but  he  has  contributed  thereto  from  his  own 
slender  means  until  £8,000  have  been  swept  away 
from  his  private  purse,  leaving  him  greatly  in  debt 
to  a  few  kind  personal  friends,  whose  confidence  in 


the  individual  could  never  be  shaken,  whatever  they 
might  think  of  the  cause  he  had  espoused. 

The  indifference  of  Irishmen  in  America  having 
for  the  time  destroyed  all  hope  of  securing  Ireland's 
independence,  Mr.  Stephens  returned  to  Dublin  and 
quietly  awaited  the  course  of  events.  Never  for 
one  moment,  since  the  days  of  O'Brien  and  Mitchel, 
has  he  doubted  the  practicabiHty  of  the  undertaking 
when  the  proper  moment  should  arrive.  He  had 
seen  one  or  two  opportunities  for  a  revolutionary 
movement  in  Ireland,  when  England  was  in  trouble 
elsewhere,  pass  unimproved  because  the  Irish  people 
were  not  organized.  He  had  determined  that  this 
should  not  occur  again,  and  that  when  the  occasion 
for  another  rising  came,  his  countrymen  should  at 
least  be  prepared  to  avail  themselves  of  it.  He  there- 
fore worked  night  and  day  in  perfecting  what  then 
had  no  name,  but  what  is  now  known  as  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood.  He  had  at  this  time  established  so- 
cieties all  through  the  land,  but  they  were  not  suf- 
ficiently advanced  to  suit  him.  He  accordingly 
visited  them  all,  worked  with  them,  added  to  their 
numbers,  and  watched  them  drilling  as  soldiers. 


The  organization  was  a  military  one,  somewhat 
peculiar  in  its  formation.  J'irst,  in  each  district  a 
good  and  trusty  man  was  selected  by  Mr.  Stephens 
to  act  as  an  organizer.  This  individual  was  called  a 
*'  Centre,"  his  military  rank  being  similar  in  power 
and  duties  to  our  colonel.  This  Centre  then  organ- 
ized "  Circles,"  each  Circle  comprising  from  50  to 
150  good  and  reliable  men,  who  were  presided  over 


by  captains.  These,  however,  instead  of  being  recog' 
nised  by  their  military  titles,  were  designated  "  A's" 
and  "  B's",  the  captains  having  authority  to  appoint 
sergeants,  corporals,  etc.  It  was  provided  that  if 
the  Centre  was  captured,  the  senior  captain  should 
immediately  take  his  place,  his  vacancy  being  filled 
by  the  one  below  him,  and  so  on  throughout  the 
whole  society.  Whatever  office  became  vacant,  for 
any  reason,  the  next  officer  in  rank  below  immedi- 
ately took  the  place.  By  this  means  the  Circles  were 
never  without  a  Centre,  and  when  arrests  were  made 
of  the  leading  men,  it  was  found  that  the  machinery 
was  in  nowise  clogged.  The  Circles  had  their  regu- 
lar meetings  and  their  military  drills  at  stated  in- 
tervals. A  large  number  of  the  Fenians  belonged 
to  the  militia,  and  were  only  too  eager  to  avail 
themselves  of  the  opportunity  to  instruct  their  bro- 
thers in  the  manual  of  arms.  Indeed,  so  completely 
Fenianized  did  the  militia  of  Ireland  become  that  the 
British  Government  at  length  prohibited  their  drill- 
ing at  all,  and  would  scarcely  allow  them  to  assem- 
ble on  the  usual  holidays. 


In  1862,  an  event  occurred  calculated  to  convince 
every  one  that  the  representations  which  Mr.  Ste- 
phens had  made  regarding  the  strength  of  the  Fe- 
nians in  Ireland  were  in  no  way  exaggerated.  This 
event  was  the  arrival  at  Cork  of  the  remains  of  that 
noble  patriot,  Terence  Bellew  McManus.  It  will 
be  remembered  that  McManus  was  one  of  those 
devoted  men  who  remained  stedfastly  with  Smith 
O'Brien  in  '48  to  the  very  last.     He  was  eventually 


captured,  while  attempting  to  leave  the  country, 
and  after  suffering  a  long  and  tedious  imprisonment, 
was  brought  to  trial.  The  evidence  against  him 
was  conclusive,  and  he  was  sentenced  to  be  "  hanged, 
drawn,  and  quartered,"  in  accordance  with  the  hu- 
mane provisions  of  English  law.  This  sentence  was 
commuted,  however,  and  he  was  doomed  to  spend 
the  remainder  of  his  days  in  penal  servitude.  While 
undergoing  this  imprisonment  in  Australia,  frequent 
attempts  were  made  by  friends  at  home  to  induce 
the  British  Government  to  pardon  him  and  the  other 
patriots  who  were  then  pining  in  the  penal  settle- 
ments. McManus,  however,  stedfastly  refused  to 
consent  to  his  name  being  used  for  any  such  pur- 
pose ;  he  intended,  if  he  could  escape,  to  repeat  his 
attempts  to  overthrow  the  British  Government,  and 
he  would  not  place  himself  under  any  obligations  to 
a'^power  he  hated,  by  accepting  from  it  a  pardon. 
He  eventually  escaped,  and  made  his  way  to  San 
Francisco,  where  he  engaged  in  business.  His  name 
was  always  revered  by  his  countrymen,  not  only  for 
his  unflinching  bravery  in  the  hour  of  danger,  but 
for  his  undying  hatred  of  the  oppressors  of  his  race, 
and  his  stubborn  rejection  of  all  overtures  for  pardon. 
In  1862,  he  died  in  that  city,  and  his  many  friends 
decided  upon  sending  his  remains  for  interment  to 
that  Green  Isle  for  which  he  had  suffered  so  much. 

"When  the  body  reached  New  York,  his  country- 
men flocked  in  thousands  to  pay  to  it  their  last 
tribute  of  respect ;  and  notwithstanding  the  fact  that 
Archbishop  Hughes  had  forbidden  the  members  of 
the  Catholic  Church  to  participate  in  any  demon- 
stration on  the  occasion,  the  funeral  cortege  was 


one  of  the  largest  ever  seen  in  IN'ew  Yoik.  Thence 
the  body,  accompanied  by  a  suitable  escort,  was 
conveyed  to  Cork.  Up  to  this  time,  there  had  been 
very  little  known  about  the  Fenian  Brotherhood ; 
and  as  the  friends  of  Ireland  abroad  doubted  its 
strength,  Mr.  Stephens  consented  that  its  members 
should  contribute  their  share  in  paying  fitting  tri- 
bute to  the  illustrious  dead.  On  the  day  of  the 
arrival  of  the  body  in  Cork,  that  city  was  filled  with 
Fenians,  who  had  been  called  thither  by  then-  chief. 
When  the  funeral  escort  came  on  shore  with  their 
dead  leader,  the  body  was  received  by  a  committee 
of  distinguished  gentlemen,  and  conveyed  to  a  suit- 
able place,  where  it  lay  in  state  for  eight  days  and 
was  visited  by  thousands.  At  the  end  of  that 
time,  the  remains  were  sent  to  Dublin,  and  eight 
thousand  Fenians  formed  in  procession  and  accom- 
panied them  to  the  depot.  Sixty  thousand  more 
lined  the  sidewalks,  remaining  reverently  uncovered 
as  the  last  earthly  remains  of  him  they  loved  so  well 
were  carried  past. 

There  was  a  continuous  grand  ovation  all  along 
the  line  of  road  over  which  the  remains  of  this  re- 
vered patriot  passed  from  Cork  to  Dublin.  At  every 
station  Fenians  had  congregated,  and  the  occasion 
was  one  of  the  deepest  solemnity  throughout  the 
land.  When  the  obsequies  were  celebrated  in  Dub- 
lin, one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  participated  in 
the  demonstration,  thirty  thousand  of  whom  joined 
in  the  procession.  From  these  demonstrations  the 
fact  became  at  once  apparent  to  the  English  Govern- 
ment as  well  as  to  the  friends  of  Ireland  at  home  and 
abroad,  that  there  existed  in  the  Green  Isle  an  organ- 


ization  of  sufficient  strength  to  shake  the  power  of 
England,  if  so  inclin(;d. 

It  had  been  thought  by  some  Irishmen  in  this 
country  that  the  arrival  of  the  remains  of  McManus 
in  Ireland  would  be  a  favorable  opportunity  for  ano- 
ther revolutionary  attempt.  They  accordingly  sailed 
for  their  native  land  at  the  same  time,  and  imme- 
diately commenced  agitating  for  a  rising.  In  some 
localities  they  found  many  followers,  and  had  hopes 
of  being  successful.  Indeed,  even  Fenians  who  were 
bound  to  Mr.  Stephens  had  become  impatient  of 
delay,  and  were  willing  to  unite  in  any  movement 
which  promised  even  the  shadow  of  success.  But 
their  chief  knew  that  the  hour  had  not  arrived ;  the 
spirit  of  the  people  might  be  ripe  for  revolution,  but 
they  had  neither  arms  nor  means  to  prosecute  it  to 
a  successful  issue.  He  accordingly  communicated 
to  the  Centres  of  his  Circles  that  no  outbreak  would 
be  allowed  at  that  time,  and  the  attempt  of  the 
American  patriots  was  frustrated.  At  several  places, 
however,  Fenians  had  congregated  in  large  numbers, 
ready  and  willing  to  do  anything,  expecting  tbat  the 
word  for  action  to  begin  would  be  given.  At  one 
place  upwards  of  a  thousand  stalwart  Fenians  had 
collected  at  the  depot,  awaiting  the  arrival  of  the 
train  which  was  bearing  the  remains  of  McManus. 
They  had  been  informed  that  when  the  train  arrived 
there  would  be  work  to  do,  and  they  were  prepared 
to  undertake  anything.  One  of  the  foremost,  acting 
as  spokesman  for  the  rest,  sought  out  Mr.  Stephens, 
and  inquired  what  was  to  be  done.  He  directed 
them  to  form  in  line  quietly,  and  then  having  gained 
a  position  where  he  could  be  heard,  and  in  a  voice 


which  once  heard  is  to  be  obeyed,  shouted  to  them, 
*'  To  your  knees,  men !  to  your  knees,  every  one !  " 
Instantly  every  knee  was  bent,  and  every  head 
reverently  uncovered.  In  this  attitude  they  re- 
mained, murmuring  heartfelt  prayers,  until  the  train 
bearing  the  corpse  of  their  hero  had  passed.  Quietly 
then  they  dispersed  to  their  several  homes,  content 
to  pay  the  tribute  of  a  tear  to  the  memory  of  the 
dead  patriot,  and  to  obey  the  commands  of  their 
living  chief. 


At  this  time,  out  of  a  population  of  5,000,000 
people,  50,000  could  be  relied  on  to  shoulder  their 
muskets  and  take  the  field  against  British  oppres- 

The  amount  of  labor  required  to  perfect  this  or- 
ganization can  only  be  appreciated  by  those  who 
have  had  some  ex]3erience  in  organizing  revolu- 
tionary movements.  But  at  the  head  stood  Mr. 
Stephens,  steadily  guiding  the  Brotherhood  in  all 
its  affairs,  and  so  perfecting  the  organization  that 
when  the  moment  arrived  for  them  to  strike  for 
freedom,  the  British  government  should  find,  instead 
of  the  undisciplined  mob  which  had  before  been  so 
easily  put  down,  an  army  of  veterans,  capable  of 
establishing  their  rights  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet. 
He  was  personally  known  to  but  a  few  of  the  more 
prominent  Centres,  yet  his  name  was  held  in  such 
reverence  by  the  masses  that  it  was  never  allowed 
to  pass  their  lips  for  fear  they  might  betray  him. 
He  was  spoken  of  as  "  the  captain,"  and  to  say  to 
them  that  "the  captain"  wanted  this  or  that  done 


was  to  secure  its  prompt  performance.  Even  t?ie 
Centres  themselves  whispered  his  name  only  when 
barred  doors  shut  out  all  possibility  of  its  being 
heard  by  watchful  spies.  Notwithstanding  Mr. 
Stephens  was  known  to  so  few  of  the  members  of 
the  Brotherhood  he  was  familiar  with  them  all. 
Under  different  names  and  disguises,  he  visited 
every  Circle  frequently,  often  addressing  them  with 
encouraging  words  from  "the  captain"  or  superin- 
tending their  drills. 


Several  of  the  best  and  most  intelligent  men  were 
selected  by  him  as  a  Council  of  Advisors,  to  whom 
were  submitted  all  questions  of  importance  and  whose 
opinions  guided  the  actions  of  their  Chief.  The  sub- 
sequent fate  of  three  of  the  members  of  this  council  is 
well  known.  John  O'Leary,  Charles  Kickham,  and 
Thomas  Clark  Luby,  gentlemen  connected  with  The 
Irish  People  newspaper,  were  arrested  on  suspicion 
of  being  connected  with  a  revolutionary  conspiracy. 
An  agent  of  John  O'Mahony's  having  been  sent  to 
Ireland  with  despatches,  was  unfortunate  enough  to 
lose  them.  The  documents  fell  into  the  hands  of  the 
British  Government,  and  the  arrest  of  hundreds  of 
patriots  followed.  The  investigations  resulting  from 
this  unfortunate  affair  showed  O'Leary,  Kickham, 
and  Clark  to  be  identified  with  the  conspirators,  and 
their  conviction  followed  without  delay.  They  are 
now  (June,  1866)  serving  out  a  sentence  of  twenty 
years'  confinement  at  Pentonville  prison,  near  Lou- 




The  vigilance  of  the  police  now  rendered  necessary 
an  increased  expenditure  of  funds  in  behalf  of  the 
Brotherhood.  The  treasury  was  exhausted,  and  the 
few  moneyed  friends  of  the  cause  had  already  been 
taxed  to  their  last  dollar.  He  had  to  assume  the 
entire  responsibility  of  weathering  the  storm  which 
hung  over  the  organization,  acting  at  once  as  its 
financier  and  chief  director. 

In  this  emergency,  he  again  sent  to  America  a 
true  friend  of  the  cause  to  ask  once  more  for  that 
assistance  which  had  been  so  often  promised.  This 
agent  soon  reached  New  York  city,  where  he  was 
met  with  glowing  accounts  of  the  progress  of  the 
Brotherhood  all  over  the  country.  He,  however, 
made  a  tour  through  the  States,  visiting  many  of  the 
large  cities,  and  addressing  large  assemblies  of  his 
countrymen.  He  thought  everything  looked  favor- 
able, more  favorable  than  had  been  represented ;  but 
he  was  deceived.  Machinations  were  immediately 
set  on  foot  to  counterbalance  the  favorable  impres. 
sions  he  had  made  in  the  country  by  those  who  were 
loath  to  see  any  Fenian  contributions  leave  the 
country.     The  mission  of  this  agent  was  a  failure. 

Again  was  Mr.  Stephens  disappointed,  but  not 
disheartened.  Difficulties  beset  his  path  on  all  sides, 
but  his  undaunted  spirit  never  for  a  moment  quailed 
before  them.  Fertile  in  resources,  his  mind  no 
sooner  realized  the  failure  of  one  project,  than  an- 
other was  suggested.  Means  to  carry  on  his  revolu- 
tionary enterprise  must  be  obtained.  Could  he  at 
this  time,  or  at  any  subsequent  period,  have  obtained 


th-e  privilege  of  appealing  directly  to  the  masses  at 
home  with  that  freedom  which  is  allowed  in  this 
country,  he  could  easily  have  derived  from  his 
poverty-stricken  countrymen  the  sums  required  to 
prosecute  his  plans  for  their  liberation.  But  mass- 
meetings,  which  in  this  country  are  the  means  of 
direct  personal  appeal,  were  denied  to  him ;  and  that 
mighty  engine  of  Republicanism — the  Press — was 
closed  against  him.  He  resolved,  therefore,  upon 
attempting  the  establishment  of  a  newspaper  in  the 
interests  of  the  Brotherhood,  which  should  not  only 
be  instrumental  in  enlightening  his  people  upon  the 
subject  so  dear  to  their  hearts,  but  should  at  the 
same  time  be  made  a  source  of  revenue  to  their 
depleted  Treasury. 


Accordingly,  in  1863,  he,  by  appeals  made  to  the 
various  circles  in  Ireland,  succeeded  in  raising  a  suf- 
ficient sum  to  commence  the  publication  of  The 
Irish  People.  It  freely  discussed  all  matters  touch- 
ing the  welfare  of  Ireland,  and  was  devoted  to  the 
dissemination  of  Republican  ideas.  The  paper  was 
well  edited,  there  being  engaged  upon  its  editorial 
staff  several  able  and  accomplished  journalists ;  while 
its  corps  of  contributors  numbered  in  its  ranks  some 
of  the  most  brilliant  writers  of  the  Irish  race.  Ten 
thousand  copies  of  the  first  number  were  printed, 
and  so  great  was  the  demand  for  it  that  the  edition 
was  speedily  exhausted.  The  second  and  third 
numbers  met  with  similar  success,  and  it  bade  fair 
to  meet  all  the  expectations  of  its  founder.  But 
with  the  third  number  came  trouble.     Its  tone  was 


offensive  to  British  tastes,  and  the  government 
objected  to  its  progressive  views.  It  was  denounced 
as  seditious  in  its  tendency  and  revolutionary  in  it? 
teachings.  Its  circulation  was  opposed  by  the 
government  and  the  clergy ;  and  the  opposition  to  it 
was  sufficient  to  prevent  its  yielding  that  pecuniary 
profit  which  had  been  anticipated.  On  the  contrary, 
for  a  portion  of  its  existence,  it  was  an  expense  to 
its  founder,  and  he  was  called  upon  to  contribute 
largely  to  its  support  from  his  private  means.  It 
survived,  however,  until  1865,  when  the  finding  of  the 
documents  lost  by  O'Mahony's  agent  showed  it  to 
be  identified  with  the  revolutionary  party,  where- 
upon the  government  seized  upon  and  confiscated 
its  presses  and  material. 


In  the  winter  of  1863  and  1864,  the  American 
Fenians  began  to  take  some  very  decided  steps  ;  and 
a  Convention  was  held  at  Chicago,  Illinois,  for  the 
purpose  of  consulting  in  regard  to  the  prospects  of 
Ii'eland,  and  attempting  to  liit  upon  some  plan  of 
action  which  should  lead  to  a  more  extended  and 
practical  form  of  sympathy  being  adopted  by  the 
Brotherhood  throughout  the  United  States.  This 
Convention  was  attended  by  delegates  from  all  parts 
of  the  country,  but  more  particularly  from  the 
Western  States.  It  was  in  those  States  that  the 
greatest  strength  of  the  Brotherhood  was  mani- 
fested at  that  time.  Many  schemes  were  proposed, 
some  of  which  were  destined  to  exercise  a  very 
strong  influence  over  the  future  action  of  the 
American  Brotherhood.     Personal  ambition  on  the 


part  of  several  of  the  leaders  had  already  manifeste( 
itself,  and  the  struggle  for  power  was  here  com] 
menced.  It  was  at  this  Convention  that  the  idea 
of  rendering  the  American  Brotherhood  independ- 
ent of  the  organization  in  Ireland  was  first  publicly 
broached.  This  Brotherhood  had  heretofore  been 
considered  auxiliary  to  the  home  society,  and  had 
recognised  James  Stephens  as  the  head  of  the  wide- 
spread movements  for  the  liberation  of  Ireland. 
At  the  Chicago  Convention  it  was  contemplated  to 
reverse  the  order  of  things,  giving  the, American 
Brotherhood  the  su]3remacy,  with  power  to  dictate 
what  should  be  the  policy  pursued  by  the  people  at 
home.  In  accordance  with  this  idea,  John  O'Ma- 
hony  was  chosen  President  of  the  Brotherhood,  and 
a  Central  Council  chosen,  which  was  to  advise  with 
the  President  on  all  affairs  of  importance.  This 
was  a  direct  blow  aimed  at  Mr.  Stephens  and  his 
Irish  organization,  the  result  of  which  was  to  give 
birth  to  all  the  unfortunate  if  not  fatal  dissensions 
which  followed. 

It  had  been  determined  to  hold  a  grand  Fair  at 
Chicago,  Illinois,  for  the  benefit  of  the  Brotherhood. 
Previous  to  the  opening  of  the  Fair,  Mr.  Henry 
Clarence  McCarty  was  sent  to  Ireland,  ostensibly 
for  the  purpose  of  procuring  articles  for  exhibition 
and  sale  at  the  Fair.  He  was  coi'dially  received  by 
Mr.  Stephens  and  his  friends,  who  seconded  his 
efforts  in  every  possible  way.  The  office  of  The 
Irish  People  was  made  a  depository  for  articles  in- 
tended for  this  purpose,  and  the  columns  of  the 
paper  devoted  to  the  advocacy  of  the  scheme. 

62        '  JAMBS  STEPHENS.  -^ 


The  great  object  of  McCarty's  trip  was,  however, 
to  induce  Stephens  to  visit  America  for  the  good  of 
the  cause,  and  especially  that  he  might  save  the  or- 
ganization from  threatened  dissolution.  He  yield- 
ed to  the  representations  made,  and,  as  before  stated, 
arrived  in  New  York  in  the  latter  part  of  March, 

After  a  few  days  spent  with  his  friends,  Mr.  Ste- 
phens proceeded  to  Chicago,  where  he  arrived  the 
second  day  of  the  Fair.  He  was  greeted  with  the 
greatest  enthusiasm  by  the  masses,  but  beneath  the 
apparent  cordiality  of  the  more  prominent  Fenians 
there  lurked  a  feeling  of  chagrin  at  his  presence.  It 
is  not  our  purpose  to  go  into  all  the  petty  intrigues 
which  were  here  developed ;  we  will  pass  them  by 
with  the  simple  statement,  that  they  were  nume- 
rous, some  of  them  dangerous,  and  that  they  bore  the 
most  bitter  fruits  at  a  subsequent  period.  The  Fair 
was  a  great  success  in  spite  of  (or  rather  because 
of)  the  opposition  to  it,  offered  by  the  clergy  of 
this  country.  The  priests  had  objected  to  it  from 
the  first,  and  entreated  their  congregations  to  dis- 
countenance it  entirely,  threatening  them  in  the 
most  serious  manner  for  any  participation  in  it.  The 
people,  however,  refused  to  be  dictated  to  in  this 
manner,  and  nearly  50,000  persons  were  present. 
It  was  here  that  Mr.  Stephens  learned,  with  feelings 
of  regret  and  astonishment,  that  the  American  Bro- 
therhood numbered  only  about  10,000  members,  when 
he  had  been  led  to  believe  their  numbers  exceeded 
50,000.     He  had  in  Ireland,  where  to  be  a  Fenian 


was  to  be  a  conspirator,  60,000  active  members  of  the 
organization,  and  he  had  hoped  America  would  fur- 
nish at  least  an  equal  number.  This  statement 
was  exceedingly  discouraging  to  him,  yet,  upon 
certain  assurances  being  made  he  promised  that  if 
England  went  to  war  that  year  on  the  Danish  ques-  ^ 
tion,  as  was  anticipated,  the  blow  for  Irish  freedom 
should  be  struck  on  Irish  soil  before  another  year 
began.  But  if  England  should  not  go  to  war  that 
year,  he  promised  that  the  fight  in  Ireland  should 
commence  in  1865  at  the  farthest.  This  promise 
was  a  conditional  one,  dependent  for  its  fulfilment 
upon  assurances  made  him  that  the  help  required 
should  be  promptly  furnished. 

After  the  Fair  was  concluded,  Mr.  Stephens,  sad- 
dened and  somewhat  discouraged  at  the  prospect 
presented  to  him  there,  started  upon  an  organizing 
tour  through  the  West.  He  met  with  good  success, 
and  the  encouragement  given  him  in  various  cities 
served  to  remove  from  his  mind  the  doubts  enoen- 
dered  at  Chicago. 


He  returned  to  Ireland  in  August,  1864,  having 
realized  £3,000  by  his  American  trip ;  three  times 
this  amount  had  been  assured  him  as  an  inducement 
to  get  him  to  come. 

On  arriving  in  Cork  harbor,  he  found  the  country 
in  a  fearful  state  of  excitement  in  consequence  of 
the  difficulties  which  were  then  in  existence  be- 
tween the  Orangemen  and  the  Catholics.  Several 
outbreaks  of  a  serious  nature  had  occurred,  men 
had  been  killed  on  both  sides,  and  it  was  feared 


that  these  demonstrations  were  but  the  forerunners 
of  an  open  revolt.  Mr.  Stephens  hastened  to 
Dublin,  to  the  great  relief  of  his  friends,  and  at 
once  resuming  the  leadership  of  the  organization, 
prevented  the  Fenians  taking  any  part  in  the 
troubles.  He  found  the  organization  deeply  in 
debt,  and  was  compelled  to  at  once  expend  nearly 
every  dollar  he  had  brought  back  from  America  to 
liquidate  claims  which  had  accumulated  during  his 


The  Danish  question  was  still  a  mooted  one  in 
Europe,  and  Mr.  Stephens  exerted  all  his  energies 
in  preparing  Ireland  for  the  commencement  of 
hostilities  in  case  England  should  be  drawn  into  a 
war  with  any  other  power.  Believing  that  "  Eng- 
land's difficulty  was  Ireland's  opportunity,"  he  made 
every  preparation  calculated  to  secure  the  success 
of  the  contemplated  revolution.  But  disappoint- 
ment awaited  him ;  no  European  war  occurred, 
and,  what  was  still  worse,  no  help  came  from 
America.  Instead  of  the  money  and  munitions  of 
war  which  had  been  so  lavishly  promised,  all  the 
assistance  received  from  America  by  him  to  the 
end  of  January,  1864,  was  the  paltry  sum  of 

In  January,  1865,  another  Convention  of  the 
Brotherhood  in  America  was  held  at  Cincinnati, 
and  to  them  Mr.  Stephens  appealed  by  letter  for 
the  fulfilment  of  the  promises  made  to  enable  him 
to  begin  the  fight  in  that  year.  He  asked  that 
for  the  first  three  months  of  that  year  he  should 


he  furnished  £1,000,  the  same  amount  for  the  month 
of  April,  and  for  May,  June,  July  and  August, 
£2,500  per  month  He  represented  that  this  assist- 
ance would  enable  his  countrymen  at  home  to  take 
the  field  before  the  winter  months  arrived.  His 
arrangements  at  that  time  were  such  that  with  the 
sums  mentioned  he  could  have  introduced  into 
Ireland  all  the  war  material  required.  This  was 
promised  him,  and  the  first  instalments  sent  over ; 
but  subsequently  the  remittances  became  irregular, 
and  soon  ceased  entirely,  before  one-quarter  of 
the  amount  promised  had  been  transmitted. 


In  July  of  that  year  (1865),  instead  of  sending 
the  assistance  promised,  two  delegates  were  sent 
to  Ireland  by  the  Brotherhood  in  America,  for 
the  purpose  of  inspecting  the  work  of  Mr.  Stephens, 
and  ascertaining  whether  a  revolution  was  practica- 
ble. Mr.  P.  J.  Meehan  and  P.  W.  Dunn  were  the 
gentlemen  selected  for  this  purpose,  the  former 
bearing  the  credentials  of  both  from  John  O'Mahony. 
They  sought  out  Mr.  Stephens,  made  known  the 
object  of  their  visit,  and  were  afibrded  every 
opportunity  for  fulfilling  their  mission.  They  soon 
expressed  themselves  entirely  satisfied  with  the 
organization,  and  again  assured  Mr.  Stephens  that 
he  should  receive  from  America  all  the  assistance 
that  had  been  promised.  It  was  at  this  time 
that  it  was  agreed  that  the  issue  of  Bonds  of 
the  Irish  Republic  should  be  entered  upon  imme- 
diately upon  the  return  of  Mr.  Meehan  to  New 
York,  and  he  promised    to   start  in   eight   days. 


These  eight  days  were  to  be  employed  by  Messrs. 
Meehan  and  Dunn  in  visiting  some  of  their  friends. 
At  the  expiration  of  fifteen  days  Mr.  Stephens 
received  letters  from  each  of  them,  posted  in 
different  parts  of  Ireland,  requesting  him  to  send  to 
them,  through  the  post-office^  the  names  of  numerous 
Centres  of  Circles,  expressing  their  desire  to  visit 
those  organizations.  Mr.  Stephens,  very  indignant 
at  such  request,  at  once  summoned  them  to  Dublin, 
to  confer  about  matters  of  vital  importance.  He 
received  no  answers  to  these  summonses,  and  several 
days  elapsed  before  Mr.  Dunn  returned.  Mr. 
Meehan  continued  not  only  absent  but  silent. 


The  visit  of  Messrs.  Meehan  and  Dunn  to  Ireland 
was  the  most  unfortunate  blow  the  revolutionary 
cause  in  Ireland  had  received  in  many  a  day.  They 
had  been  provided  with  important  documents — im- 
portant only  as  they  would,  if  captured,  be  found 
criminatory  in  their  nature — and  with  funds  for  the 
use  of  the  conspirators,  which  were  in  the  custody 
of  Mr.  Meehan. 

That  gentleman^  on  the  first  day  of  his  arrival^ 
hy  some  means  lost  everything  in  his  possessio?i 
belonging  to^  and  giving  information  about  the 
JBrotherhood.  The  docwnents  at  once  found  their 
way  into  the  hands  of  British  police  officials^  and 
were  the  immediate  cause  of  the  wholesale  arrests  of 
Fenian  leaders  and  sympathizers  which  have  since 
been  made. 

For  months  previously  British  detectives,  spies,  in- 
formers, police,  soldiery,  and  officials  of  every  kind, 


had  been  eoideavorin^  in  vain  to  find  out  just  what 
the  documents  lost  by  Mr.  Meehan  told  them, 
viz.  the  prime  movers  of  the  Fenian  organiza- 

These  documents  were  simply  the  letter  of  John 
O'Mahony,  endorsing  Messrs.  Meehan  and  Dunn, 
addressed  to  "  James  Stephens,  Central  Executive  of 
the  Irish  Republic,"  and  a  draft  for  the  sum  of  £500 
drawn  in  favor  of  a  respectable  Irishman.  This  was 
the  link,  so  long  sought  by  the  government,  showing 
the  direct  connection  between  the  revolutionary 
element  in  Ireland  and  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in 
America,  and  also  giving  endorsements  to  the  sworn 
statements  of  Nagle,  which  statements  otherwise, 
owing  to  the  character  of  the  man,  would  have  been 


Knowing  James  Stephens  to  be  identified  with 
The  Irish  People  newspaper,  on  the  night  of  the  1 5th 
of  September  the  ofiice  of  that  paper  was  seized  by 
the  police,  and  its  types  and  presses  taken  possession 
of  by  the  government  officials.  At  the  same  time  a 
posse  of  police  surrounded  the  house  of  one  of  its  edi- 
tors, Thomas  Clark  Luby,  and  patiently  waited  for  the 
appearance  of  that  gentlcTiian.  Two  messengers,  who 
were  dispatched  to  him  from  The  Irish  People  office 
during  the  night,  were  seized  by  the  vigilant  officers. 
Finally  they  entered  Mr.  Luby's  house  and  seized 
that  gentleman  and  a  large  lot  of  documents  relating 
to  the  Brotherhood.  These  papers  being  calculated 
to  implicate  many  people  in  the  conspiracy,  had  been 
previously  kept  in  a  place  of  safety  together  with 

eS  -       JAMES  STEPHENS. 

many  private  papers  belonging  to  Mr.  Luby.  Antici- 
pating just  what  had  occurred,  the  seizure  of  The 
Irish  People  office,  and  the  search  of  his  own  resi- 
dence, Mr.  Luby  had  brought  the  papers  to  his  home 
for  the  purpose  of  destroying  such  as  could  be 
spared,  selecting  out  his  private  documents  and 
concealing  the  remainder  where  they  could  not 
possibly  be  found.  It  was  while  thus  engaged 
that  he  was  arrested.  The  papers  thus  found, 
placed  in  the  hands  of  the  police  the  names  of 
many  brave  men  who  were  connected  with  the  Fe- 
nian organization,  and  led  to  their  immediate  arrest. 
But  the  first  positive  clue  which  the  government 
obtained  upon  which  to  base  an  arrest  was  that 
furnished  by  the  documents  lost  by  Mr.  Meehan. 
Without  that  the  fatal  discovery  of  the  papers  at 
Mr.  Luby's  could  never  have  been  made.  It  was 
freely  admitted  by  British  officials  that  all  the 
information  previously  received  by  them  had  not 
been  of  a  criminating  nature,  and  the  Attorney- 
General  stated  officially  that  without  the  Meehan 
documents  no  arrests  could  have  been  made. 

The  events  immediately  following  the  seizure  of 
The  Irish  People  office  are  of  such  recent  date  as 
not  to  require  repetition  here.  How  hundreds  of 
brave  and  loyal  Irishmen  were  seized  and  thrown 
into  prison  on  suspicion  of  being  Fenians ;  how 
Americans  in  Ireland  were  also  suspected,  arrested, 
and  ordered  to  leave  the  country ;  how  some  of 
these  patriotic  men  were  brought  to  trial,  and  how 
nobly  and  defiantly  they  bore  themselves  ;  and  how 
they  were  sentenced  to  years  of  penal  servitude,  are 
matters  well  known  to  the  public. 


KETWARD    OF    £2,300    OFPEEED    FOR   STEPHENS. 

On  the  day  following  the  seizure  of  The  Irish 
People  office — the  16th  of  September — a  reward  of 
£200  was  offered  for  the  arrest  of  Mr.  Stephens. 
As  days  and  weeks  rolled  on,  and  he  still  remained 
at  large,  this  reward  was  increased  publicly  to 
£2,300  ;  while  privately  it  was  known  that  whoever 
should  produce  in  court  the  arch-conspirator,  would 
receive  from  the  Government  and  individuals  an 
incredible  amount.  Yet  while  the  ingenuity  of  the 
British  Government  was  taxed  to  the  uttermost  to 
secure  his  arrest ;  while  detectives  were  following 
every  trail,  and  spies  lurking  in  every  corner — that 
gentleman  remained  quietly  at  his  own  residence  in 
the  suburbs  of  Dublin,  pursuing  his  usual  avocations. 


In  the  preceding  month  of  July  he  had  rented  for 
£60  a  year  (this  is  the  mansion  he  is  said  to  have 
occupied  at  Fenian  cost !)  a  small  house  known  as 
Fairfield,  in  the  south-eastern  portion  of  the  city, 
near  Sandy  Mount,  on  the  river  Doder,  and  here 
he  remained  from  that  time  until  he  was  arrested. 
He  was  known  there  as  Mr.  Herbert,  and  was  to  be 
seen  at  all  hours  of  the  day,  quietly  digging  in.  his 
little  garden,  indulging  his  refined  taste  in  the  culti- 
vation of  flowers,  or  bestowing  a  gardener's  care 
upon  the  substantial  vegetables  which  were  destined 
to  appear  upon  his  dinner-table.  The  other  occupants 
of  this  cottage  were  his  wife,  his  sister-in-law,  Charles 
Kickham,  one  of  the  editors  of  The  Irish  People^ 
Edward  Duffy,  and  Hugh  Brophy.  These  gentle- 
men were  all  subsequently  arrested. 


It  was  believed  that  the  excitement  through- 
out the  land,  in  consequence  of  the  arrests,  would 
lead  to  an  outbreak  on  the  part  of  the  revolutionists. 
Indeed  the  hour  was  a  proj^itious  one  ;  but  that  quiet 
country  gentleman,  in  his  suburban  cottage,  knew 
that,  however  ripe  the  times  and  the  people  might 
be  for  a  rising  against  their  self-delegated  masters, 
the  warlike  preparations  were  not  sufficient  to  en- 
sure a  success.  An  outbreak  might  be  made  in  cer- 
tain localities,  and  a  temporary  victory  gained,  but 
there  was  neither  a  sufficiency  of  arms  nor  ammuni- 
tion in  the  land  to  warrant  the  slightest  hope  of 
success.  Mr.  Stephens  knew  this  only  too  well,  and 
bitterly  did  he  regret  that  the  promised  aid  from 
America  had  not  reached  him  in  time  to  enable  him 
to  take  advantage  of  this  popular  excitement  which 
seized  upon  every  Irishman  in  the  land,  and  aroused 
in  him  such  deep  indignation  as  to  render  him  ripe 
for  any  deed  that  should  promise  to  free  his  native 
land  from  the  rule  of  the  hated  Saxon.  The  desire 
for  the  work  to  begin  was  so  great  in  the  ranks  of 
the  Brotherhood,  that  nothing  short  of  the  powerful 
influence  which  Mr.  Stephens  wielded  over  his 
countrymen  and  their  devotion  to  him  could  have 
prevented  an  outbreak.  That  such  was  prevented 
when  popular  indignation  was  wrought  up  to  its 
highest  pitch,  is  an  evidence  of  the  high  state  of  dis- 
cipline to  which  the  organization  had  been  brought. 
The  imperative  order  that  no  revolutionary  move- 
ment should  be  made  at  that  time  went  out  from 
that  controlling  spirit,  and  was  obeyed. 



For  over  two  months"  following  the  issuance  of  the 
proclamation  setting  a  price  upon  his  head,  Mr, 
Stephens  remained  at  Fairfield.  A  full  description 
of  his  person  had  been  published,  and  the  police 
were  in  full  cry  after  him.  But  few  persons  con- 
nected with  the  Fenian  movement  knew  of  his  re- 
treat, and  the  number  who  were  familiar  with  his 
person  was  comparatively  small.  For  seven  years 
he  had  been  a  conspirator  in  Ireland,  most  of  the  time 
living  in  Dublin,  yet  his  person  was  unknown  to  any 
policeman.  His  retreat  was  finally  discovered, 
through  the  treachery  of  one  who  was  familiar  with 
the  fact  that  James  Stephens  and  Mr.  Herbert  were 
one  and  the  same  person.  On  the  night  of  the  12th 
of  November,  Colonel  Lake  and  Inspector  Ryan,  of 
"G"  Division  of  the  Metropolitan  Police,  with  a 
large  posse  of  policemen,  surrounded  the  house  at 
Fairfield,  bent  upon  the  capture  of  the  great  con- 
spirator. Having  placed  his  men  so  as  to  prevent 
any  escape  from  the  house,  he  at  length  entered  the 
cottage  and  instituted  a  search  for  Mr.  Stephens. 
Entering  the  sleeping  apartment  of  that  individual, 
the  police  found  him  quietly  awaiting  their  approach, 
while  his  wife  was  still  in  bed.  There  he  stood  be- 
fore them,  yet  none  dared  to  arrest  him.  There  is 
a  provision  of  English  law  which  prohibits  an  arrest 
being  made  unless  the  person  arresting  is  sure  of  the 
identity  of  the  person  he  desires  to  capture.  Not  a 
man  of  them  was  familiar  with  the  personal  appear- 
ance of  him  for  whose  arrest  there  was  so  much 
money  to  be  gained. 


This  emergency  had  been  provided  for,  and  so 
complete  were  his  precautions  and  foresight,  that 
naught  but  the  basest  treachery  could  have  given 
the  authorities  a  clue  to  his  retreat.  At  last  some 
one  cried  out,  "  Where's  Dawson  ?"  and  that  indi- 
vidual, a  detective,  having  been  summoned,  pro- 
claimed the  identity  of  Mr.  Herbert  with  that  of 
James  Stephens.  He  was  at  once  taken  into  cus- 
tody in  the  name  of  the  Queen.  Fifteen  minutes 
elapsed  from  the  time  the  police  entered  his  bed- 
chamber before  the  arrest  was  made.  Mrs.  Stephens 
bore  the  arrest  of  her  husband  bravely,  and  when 
they  parted,  asked  his  permission  to  visit  him  in 
prison.  He  replied :  "  You  cannot  visit  me  in  prison 
without  asking  permission  of  British  officials,  and  I 
do  not  think  it  becoming  in  one  so  near  to  me  as 
you  are  to  ask  favors  of  British  dogs.  You  must 
not  do  it — I  forbid  it." 

The  police,  fully  armed,  soon  started  on  their 
road  to  Dublin,  having  in  charge  Mr.  Stephens  and 
Messrs.  Kickham,  Duify,  and  Brophy,  the  other 
occupants  of  the  cottage  who  had  also  been  made 


By  the  time  of  their  arrival  in  the  city  the  police 
courts  were  open,  and  Mr.  Stephens  was  imme- 
diately conveyed  before  Mr.  Stronge  to  undergo  a 
preliminary  examination.  The  news  of  his  arrest 
had  spread  throughout  the  city,  and  the  excitement 
was  intense.  It  was  feared  that  an  attempt  would 
be  made  by  his  devoted  admirers  to  rescue  him 
from  the  hands  of  the  police.  The  Prosecuting 
Attorney,  Charles  Barry,  was  present,  and  a  distin- 


guished  lawyer  volunteered  his  services  in  behalf  of 
Mr.  Stephens.  This  was  most  emi)hatically  refused 
by  him  in  that  bold  and  defiant  language  which  no 
person  ever  dared  to  breathe  before  in  public  in 
Ireland,  and  which  caused  the  most  profound  sensa- 
tion when  heard.  He  said,  addressing  Mr.  Stronge, 
"  I  have  employed  no  lawyer,  nor  have  I  put  in  any 
plea  in  this  case,  neither  do  I  intend  to  do  so.  By 
so  doing,  I  should  be  recognising  British  law  in  Ire- 
land. Now,  I  conscientiously  and  deliberately  re- 
pudiate the  rightful  existence  of  British  law  in  Ire- 
land, and  I  scorn  and  defy  any  punishment  it  can 
inflict  on  me."  The  greatest  excitement  prevailed 
in  the  court-room  in  consequence  of  this  defiant 
speech,  and  every  man  present  felt  that,  in  conse- 
quence, Mr.  Stephens'  doom  was  surely  sealed.  A 
few  moments  sufficed  to  conclude  the  examination, 
and  the  accused  was  remanded  to  prison  for  a  fur- 
ther hearing.  This  occurred  on  Saturday ;  on  the 
following  Tuesday  he  was  again  arraigned,  and 
then  formally  committed  to  Richmond  Prison  to 
await  his  trial  before  a  Special  Commission  which 
had  already  been  ordered  to  convene.  The  other 
prisoners  who  were  arrested  at  his  house  were  also 
committed  for  trial. 


Mr.  Stephens  having  been  fully  committed  to  await 
his  trial  upon  a  charge  of  high  treason,  found  himself 
speedily  locked  within  the  walls  of  Richmond  Prison. 
This  prison,  built  of  solid  stone  and  surrounded  by 
high  walls,  is  considered  the  strongest  and  most 
secure  place  of  confinement  in  Ireland.      The  four 



prisoners,  Mr.  Stephens,  Brophy,  Kickham,  and 
Duffy,  were  escorted  to  the  cells  allotted  to  them. 
These  were  located  on  the  second  floor  of  the  prison, 
and  were  at  some  distance  from  each  other.  The 
cell  to  the  right  of  Mr.  Stephens  was  untenanted, 
while  the  one  between  him  and  Kickham  on  the  left 
was  occupied  by  a  convicted  thief.  This  convict  was 
employed  by  the  Superintendent  of  the  prison  to 
assist  in  watching  Mr.  Stephens.  A  cord  was 
fastened  in  his  cell  communicating  with  a  bell  in  the 
Superintendent's  office,  and  the  convict,  on  hearing 
any  unusual  noise  in  the  cell  of  the  conspirator,  or 
any  attempt  at  rescue,  was  to  give  the  alarm  imme- 
diately. This  spy  testified,  subsequently,  that  when 
the  escape  was  finally  eflected,  although  he  heard 
the  noise,  he  dared  not  ring  the  bell  for  fear  of  being 
killed.  Notwithstanding  the  fancied  security  of  the 
prison,  the  utmost  vigilance  was  exercised  by  all  the 
prison  officials  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  the  pri- 
soners holding  communication  Avith  their  friends. 
None  but  those  enjoying  the  entire  confidence  of  the 
prison  officials  were  allowed  to  converse  with  them, 
and,  with  the  exception  of  two  hours  per  day,  which 
were  allowed  for  solitary  promenade  in  the  court-yard, 
they  were  securely  locked  within  their  cells.  Aside 
from  being  so  closely  confined  and  guarded,  they 
were  treated  with  tolerable  courtesy  and  kindness. 
During  the  early  part  of  his  imprisonment,  Mr.  Ste- 
phens had  no  hope  of  effecting  his  escape  before 
trial,  although  his  friends  knew  full  well  that  the 
sentence  which  might  be  passed  upon  him  could 
never  be  carried  into  effect.  He  knew  that  thou- 
sands of  devoted  followers  stood  ready  and  eager  to 


do  anything,  even  to  sacrificing  their  lives,  if  neces- 
sary, to  secure  his  release  ;  but  he  would  not  add  to 
the  complications  in  which  they  were  involved  by  per 
mitting  them  to  make  any  demonstration  in  his  behalf. 
The  excitement  in  Fenian  circles,  in  consequence 
of  the  arrest  and  imprisonment,  was  most  intense, 
and  schemes  for  his  rescue,  some  of  which  contem- 
plated the  destruction  of  the  prison,  were  discussed 
far  and  wide.  These  plans  were  all  put  aside  by  the 
bold  and  skilful  man  to  whom  Mr.  Stephens  had 
entrusted  the  direction  of  affairs  during  his  incar- 
ceration. This  man  was  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly, 
formerly  a  staff-officer  in  the  army  of  the  Cumber- 
land, who  won  his  laurels  and  his  promotion  upon 
the  battle-fields  of  West  Virginia,  Kentucky,  and 
Tennessee.  In  April,  1865,  Colonel  Kelly,  who,  while 
still  in  the  American  army,  had  tendered  his  services 
for  active  work  in  Ireland,  and  who  was  then  a  tried 
and  trusted  Fenian,  joined  Mr.  Stephens  in  Dublin, 
and  during  the  few  months  succeeding  his  arrival, 
had  displayed  so  much  skill  and  ability  as  to  win  not 
only  the  confidence  of  his  beloved  chief,  but  the 
respect  and  good  opinion  of  all  the  leading  revolu- 
tionary spirits  of  the  time.  Colonel  Kelly  had  re- 
solved, from  the  moment  that  Mr.  Stephens  was 
seized,  that  he  should  never  be  brought  to  trial, 
and  he  took  measures  to  enforce  that  resolve,  as  will 
be  seen. 


The  arrrest,  as  we  have  stated,  occurred  on  the  morn- 
ing of  the  11th  of  November,  and  a  Special  Commission 
had  been  ordered  to  convene  on  the  28th  of  the  same 


month,  before  which  the  chief  conspirator  was  to  be 
tried.  The  plans  of  Colonel  Kelly,  to  be  of  service, 
must  be  speedily  executed,  and  that  they  were  com- 
plete in  every  detail  and  successful  in  their  result  is 
already  known. 

The  details  of  the  escape  of  Mr.  Stephens  from 
Richmond  Prison,  and  the  names  of  the  persons  who 
assisted  therein,  cannot  be  given  to  the  public  in  full 
until  the  Irish  Republic  shall  be  recognised  among  the 
nations  of  the  earth,  and  those  prisons,  which  have 
proved  the  tombs  of  so  many  noble  patriots,  have  be- 
come portions  of  its  possessions.  It  is  a  fact,  how- 
ever, that  those  who  assisted  in  the  escape  were  so 
completely  masters  of  the  situation,  that  for  days  they 
laughed  to  scorn  all  idea  of  their  beloved  chief  being 
brought  to  trial.  Indeed,  the  fact  that  he  was  to  es- 
cape, and  that  the  well-laid  plans  to  secure  his  release 
would  be  put  into  effect  on  a  certain  night,  was  well 
known  to  the  organization  throughout  the  whole  of 
Ireland,  and  had  even  been  communicated  to  Colonel 
O'Mahony,  in  America ;  yet  so  perfect  was  the 
organization,  and  so  devoted  its  members,  that  not 
a  whisper  of  such  purpose  ever  reached  the  ears  of 
British  officials.  Sufficient  details  of  this  escape, 
however,  can  be  given  here  without  criminating 
those  who  assisted  therein,  and  who  are  yet  resi- 
dents of  their  native  land,  to  clear  up  somewhat  the 
mystery  which  has  surrounded  this  transaction,  and 
which  will,  at  least,  have  the  merit  of  being  truthful. 

There  were  in  Dublin  many  men,  some  of  whom 
had  previously  been  employed  within  the  prison,  and 
others  who  had  been  confined  there,  who  knew  all 
its  ins  and  outs,  all  its  highways  and  byways.    These 


men  were  now  Soldiers  of  the  Republic,  devoted  to 
theii  Chief,  willing  to  lay  down  their  lives  in  his  be- 
half, and  sworn  to  obey  the  orders  of  the  officers 
appointed  over  them.  There  were  employes  still 
in  the  prison,  also,  who  were  members  of  the  organ- 
ization, who  were  ready  to  connive  at  the  escape  of 
the  Central  Organizer.  But  he  who  rendered  the 
most  important  service  was  a  British  official,  high 
in  office,  who,  for  a  stipulated  sum  of  money,  fur- 
nished to  Colonel  Kelly  wax  impressions  of  the 
various  locks  of  the  prison.  These  impressions  were 
taken  to  a  skilful  workman,  still  in  Dublin,  and  from 
them  he  was  enabled  to  construct  skeleton  keys,  so 
deftly  made  that  when  the  occasion  came  to  use 
them  it  was  found  that  the  prison-bolts  yielded  as 
readily  to  them  as  they  did  to  those  in  the  hands  of 
the  officials. 

All  arrangements  having  been  made  to  the  satis- 
faction of  the  Colonel,  he,  on  the  morning  of  the 
24th  of  November,  together  with  a  few  other  bold 
spirits,  repaired  to  the  prison.  It  was  a  cold  night ; 
the  rain  fell  in  torrents,  and  the  wind  howled  dis- 
mally through  the  almost  deserted  streets,  as  these 
few  men  hastened  from  different  directions  to  the 
appointed  rendezvous.  The  first  thing  to  be  done 
was  to  post  sentinels  at  some  distance  from  the 
prison,  to  guard  all  the  approaches,  to  give  the  alarm 
if  the  movement  was  discovered,  and  to  bring  rein- 
forcements to  the  scene  if  necessary.  Colonel  Kelly, 
while  making  the  rounds  of  these  sentinels,  encoun- 
tered a  policeman  in  the  vicinity  of  Love  Lane,  and 
that  individual  owes  his  life  at  the  present  moment, 
to  the  fact  that  his  curiosity  did  not  lead  him  to 


follow  the  person  who  was  so  quietly  promenading 
the  streets  at  that  early  morning  hour.  While 
skeleton  keys  had  been  prepared  to  unlock  the  doors 
leading  from  the  prisoner's  cell  to  the  prison  yard, 
it  was  well  known  that  the  outside  gates  were  too 
well  guarded  to  permit  of  their  entering  that  way. 
But  these  men  were  fertile  in  resources.  A  rope 
thrown  over  the  outside  wall  sufficed  to  enable  two 
of  them  to  climb  to  the  top  and  lower  themselves  to 
the  inside. 

One  of  those  who  thus  entered  the  prison  had 
formerly  been  employed  there,  and  knew  all  that 
was  necessary  to  know  to  effect  their  purpose.  It 
appears  that  the  Superintendent  of  the  prison  had,  a 
short  time  before,  become  exceedingly  economical 
in  his  views,  and  had  consequently  reduced  the 
number  of  watchmen  within  the  walls.  Only  one  at 
a  time  was  now  required  to  be  on  duty,  and  lest  he 
should  prove  negligent,  a  tell-tale  clock  was  put  up 
at  regular  intervals,  by  means  of  which  the  high  dig- 
nitary who  introduced  the  reform  could  tell  whether 
or  not  the  watchman  had  made  his  rounds  at  the 
proper  time.  The  tour  of  duty  was  performed  in 
this  manner :  the  watchman,  on  starting  upon  his 
rounds,  performed  upon  the  first  dial  the  operation 
known  as  "  pegging  the  clock,"  which  showed  the 
time  he  entered  upon  his  duty.  Passing  along  the 
corridors,  he  was  required  to  try  every  lock,  ex- 
amine every  door,  and  satisfy  himself  that  every  cell 
was  occupied  by  the  person  assigned  to  it.  At  an- 
other point  of  his  rounds,  he  encountered  another 
tell-tale  clock,  which  he  was  required  to  "  peg  "  as  he 
had  the  first,  and  so  on  throughout  the  entire  prison 


until  six  clocks  had  been  thus  manipulated.  The 
time  occupied  in  making  the  rounds  was  one  hour 
and  a  half. 

The  old  employe  who  had,  by  scaling  the  walls, 
stolen  into  the  prison,  as  we  have  stated,  knew  to  a 
minute  what  time  each  clock  was  to  be  "  pegged," 
and  the  movements  of  the  rescuing  party  were 
timed  accordingly.  Clock  IS'o.  1  having  been  duly 
"pegged"  on  this  particular  morning,  and  the  watch- 
man started  on  his  tour  of  inspection,  the  two  men 
who  were  so  anxiously  watching  his  movements  fol- 
lowed slowly  and  softly  behind  him.  The  cell  of 
Mr.  Stephens  was  examined,  the  locks  and  bars 
found  to  be  all  correct,  the  prisoner  apparently  sleep- 
ing, and  the  watchman  passed  by,  satisfied  with  his 
inspection.  Scarcely  had  the  sound  of  his  footstep 
died  out  from  within  that  ceil,  when  it  was  ap- 
proached by  the  two  nameless  individuals.  Quickly 
the  skeleton-key  was  applied  to  the  lock,  the  bolts 
flew  back,  the  barred  door  swung  open,  and  "  the 
captain,"  a  moment  since  seemingly  so  sound  asleep, 
stepped  forth  from  the  dismal  cell  and  silently  pressed 
the  hands  of  his  rescuers.  But  their  work  was  not 
yet  complete — barely  commenced,  in  fact.  In  half 
an  hour  the  watchman  will  return  to  clock  IN'o.  1, 
and  again  commence  "pegging"  his  rounds,  and 
"  the  captain  "  must  be  beyond  his  reach  before  that 
time.  Hastily  the  two  mysterious  persons,  accom- 
panied by  their  chief,  retraced  their  steps  to  where 
they  had  entered.  Between  the  prison  and  the 
prison-garden  there  is  a  stone  wall  nearly  twenty 
feet  high.  From  the  top  of  this  dangled  a  rope-lad- 
der ;  to  mount  this,  and  gain  the  summit  of  the  wall, 


was  but  a  moment's  work.  The  rope-ladder  was 
drawn  up  and  lowered  on  the  other  side,  and  in 
another  moment  the  three  men  had  reached  the  pri- 
son-garden. Crossing  this  hastily,  they  approached 
another  stone  wall  nearly  as  high  as  the  one  just 
scaled.  The  rope-ladder  was  once  more  brought 
into  requisition,  the  top  of  the  wall  speedily  gained, 
and  at  two  o'clock  and  thirty-five  minutes  by  the 
prison-clock,  Mr.  Stephens  looked  out  upon  the 
streets  of  Dublin.  His  friends  outside  were  watch- 
ing for  him,  and  as  they  saw  his  form  on  the  top  of 
the  wall,  these  devoted  individuals  closed  in  toge- 
ther, bending  their  backs  for  him  to  drop  upon. 
Lightly  he  sprang  down,  landing  safely  and  unin- 
jured upon  their  shoulders,  and  he,  for  whose  cap 
ture  the  British  Government  had  made  such  prodi- 
gious efforts,  stood  upon  his  native  soil  once  more 
a  free  man.  His  friends  who  had  unlocked  the  door 
of  his  cell,  having  removed  all  traces  of  their  flight, 
and  having  taken  slight  measures  to  mislead  the 
authorities  as  to  their  mode  of  exit,  hastily  followed 
the  example  of  their  leader.  'No  sooner  had  they 
landed  than  they  immediately  fled  in  diflerent  dh*ec- 
tions.  Colonel  Kelly  and  one  other  alone  remaining 
with  Mr.  Stephens.  The  three  walked  rapidly  for 
a  few  squares,  when  the  third  person  was  sent  away ; 
a  few  moments  more  and  Mr.  Stephens  entered  the 
house  of  a  watching  friend,  and  Colonel  Kelly  passed 
on  to  his  lodgings.  Both  were  drenched  to  the 
skin,  splashed  with  mud,  and  their  clothes  bore  evi- 
dence of  the  rough  work  they  had  encountered  in 
scaling  the  prison- walls. 

Six  persons  in  diflerent  parts  of  the  city  and  its 


suburbs  had  been  led  to  expect  Mr.  Stephens  that 
night ;  all  six  kept  their  houses  open  awaiting  his 
arrival,  and  had  made  every  preparation  to  receive 
him.  Colonel  Kelly  had  anticipated  every  emergency 
which  could  arise,  and  had  one  mode  of  escape  failed, 
another  was  open  to  him.  Even  had  he  been  cap- 
tured in  the  undertakmg,  his  chief  would  still  have 
escaped,  and  would  have  found  his  friends  awaiting 
his  arrival.  The  whole  affair  was  most  successfully 
managed,  not  one  person  about  the  prison  being  aware 
that  the  conspirator's  cell  was  empty  until  four  o'clock 
the  /ollowing  morning,  unless,  indeed,  that  official 
who  furnished  the  impressions  from  which  the  skele- 
ton keys  were  made,  saw,  in  his  dreams,  tlie  successful 
issue  of  the  work  to  which  he  had  contributed  so 
much.  Had  any  difficulty  presented  itself  in  the  way 
of  Mr.  Stephens'  escape  that  night,  blood  would 
doubtless  have  been  shed.  His  friends  did  not  en- 
counter the  danger  of  entering  Richmond  Prison 
without  being  prepared  to  force  their  way  out,  and 
each  one,  including  Mr.  Stephens,  was  well  armed. 
Any  person  who  would  have  ventured  to  oppose 
them  would  have  been  speedily  put  out  of  the  way. 
If  help  had  been  needed,  help  was  at  hand.  Eight 
thousand  men  were  that  night  assembled  at  different 
points  within  the  limits  of  the  city  of  Dublin,  ready 
to  answer  any  call  that  might  be  made  upon  them 
by  those  whom  they  recognised  as  their  leaders. 
Had  there  been  any  disturbance  at  the  prison,  that 
call  would  have  been  made,  and  these  eight  thousand 
men,  ignorant  of  the  reason  why  they  were  waiting, 
but  knowing  full  well  that  some  movement  in  the 
cause  of  Irish  liberty  was  being  made,  would  have 



made  an  onslaught  upon  Richmond  Prison  which 
would  have  reduced  it  to  ruins.  But,  fortunately, 
this  was  not  necessary.  The  daring  revolutionary 
spirit  had  escaped  from  its  walls,  and  was  then  as 
free  as  any  Irishman  in  Ireland. 

Mr.  Stephens  remained  quietly  at  the  house  of 
the  friend  with  whom  he  first  lodged  after  leaving 
prison  for  over  two  weeks,  and  could,  from  his 
chamber-window,  look  out  upon  two  sides  of  those 
stone  walls  which  had,  for  thirteen  days,  shut  him 
out  from  the  world.  Great  was  the  hue  and  cry 
set  up  when  his  escape  became  known  ;  again  were 
the  energies  of  the  government  bent  upon  his 
capture.  The  reward  of  £200  previously  offered 
for  his  apprehension  was  increased  to  nearly  £2,000, 
and  numerous  small  rewards  were  offered  by  in- 
dividuals. Mr.  Stephens  looked  laughingly  on 
while  the  detectives  were  stumbling  by  his  hiding- 
place,  and  he  frequently  ventured  forth  into  the 
streets  of  an  evening  and  enjoyed  his  quiet  walk 
and  a  cigar.  He  received  the  leading  men  of  the 
Fenian  organization  occasionally  at  his  rooms,  and 
communicated  with  them  all.  Colonel  Kelly,  to 
whose  skill  and  daring  his  escape  was  due,  was  the 
trusted  Lieutenant  of  Mr.  Stephens,  and  through 
him  the  business  connected  with  the  organization 
was  mainly  transacted.  The  Colonel  occupied  a 
suite  of  apartments  in  the  busy  part  of  the  city, 
frequently  met  the  Fenian  leaders  there,  and  yet 
was  never  even  suspected  by  the  vigilant  police. 
With  the  exception  of  one  night,  Mr.  Stephens  did 
not  sleep  outside  the  limits  of  the  city  of  Dublin 
from  the  time  of  his  escape  from  prison  until  the 


13th  of  March  following,   at  which  time   he   left 
Ireland  for  Paris  on  his  way  to  America. 

It  was  with  feelings  of  the  deepest  regret  that 
Mr.  Stephens  resolved  to  make  the  trip  to  America. 
The  organization  at  home  sadly  needed  his  entire 
attention.  The  excitement  consequent  upon  the 
arrests  of  Fenians,  which  were  still  being  made  by 
the  government,  was  intense,  and  the  British  offi- 
cials were  congratulating  themselves  that  dismay 
had  seized  upon  and  annihilated  the  Brotherhood. 
That  a  deep  gloom  had  fallen  upon  the  revolutionists 
was  true  ;  they  had  seen  their  companions  dragged 
to  prison  by  hundreds  upon  a  bare  suspicion,  and 
the  myrmidons  of  the  oppressor  were  still  at  work ; 
but  disheartened  or  dismayed  they  were  not.  The 
spirit  was  ripe,  and  the  determination  for  revolution 
more  fixed  than  ever.  Yet  it  needed  the  cool  head 
and  clear  intellect  of  the  Chief  Organizer  to  steer 
the  organization  clear  of  all  breakers.  But  the 
success  of  future  movements  depended  upon  the 
union  of  the  opposing  factions  in  America,  and  he 
believed  that  he  could  accomplish  this. 


The  history  of  the  unfortunate  complications  in 
American  Fenian  afiairs,  may  be  thus  briefly 
summed  up : 

Colonel  O'Mahony,  the  President  of  the  organiza- 
tion, by  persistently  refusing  to  countenance  any 
attempt  at  an  invasion  of  Canada,  had  become  quite 
unpopular.  The  Central  Council  had,  despite  the 
protest  of  Colonel  O'Mahony,  called  a  convention  of 
State  delegates,  at  which  convention  a  Fenian  Con- 


stitution  was  adopted.  This  document  provided  for 
a  Senate,  a  War  Department,  a  State  Department,  a 
Financial  Department,  and  all  the  machinery  of  a 
Republican  Government,  and  virtually  robbed  the 
President  of  a  large  portion  of  that  power  which 
had  heretofore  been  vested  in  him.  His  hold  upon 
the  Brotherhood  now  rested  ahnost  solely  upon  the 
fact  that  his  course  was  approved  by  Mr.  Stephens  and 
the  Irish  organization.  The  arrest  of  Mr.  Stephens, 
it  was  believed,  would  not  only  prove  his  death-blow, 
but  would  also  destroy  Colonel  O'Mahony's  influence. 
The  bonds  of  the  Irish  Republic  were  in  process  of 
printing,  and  the  individual  who  had  been  selected 
as  their  custodian,  had  sent  his  signature  to  the 
engraver  that  a  fac-simile  of  it  might  be  made.  The 
Senate  finally  objected  to  the  issuing  of  the  bonds, 
and  their  custodian  refused  to  attach  to  them  bis 
signature.  Knowing  how  much  the  cause  at  home 
was  dependent  on  prompt  action  in  America,  Colonel 
O'Mahony  had  decided  upon  signing  the  bonds  him- 
self, and  putting  them  in  the  market.  The  Senate  took 
ofience  at  this,  and  a  session  being  called,  a  stormy 
debate  ensued,  at  the  conclusion  of  which  Colonel 
O'Mahony  was  voted  out  of  office,  and  Colonel  Wm. 
R.  Roberts  chosen  as  his  successor.  But  Colonel 
O'Mahony  was  not  to  be  ousted  so  easily ;  he  had 
many  personal  friends,  and  still  more  believed  that 
his  policy  of  sending  assistance  to  the  men  at  home 
was  preferable  to  the  Canadian  scheme.  These  ad- 
hered to  his  fortunes,  and  he  found  himself  still  at 
the  head  of  a  powerful  party.  Party  spirit  ran  high, 
and  for  a  long  time  the  press  of  the  country  teemed 
with  the  sayings  and  doings  of  the  two  factious. 


This  invasion  of  British  dominions  in  America, 
and  the  seizure  of  certain  towns  from  which  lai'ge 
ships  could  be  dispatched  to  all  ports  of  the  world 
through  the  rapid  waters  of  the  broad  St.  Lawrence 
river,  had  long  been  a  favorite  scheme  of  one  party  ; 
and,  though  bitterly  opposed  by  the  other,  its  advo- 
cates had  never  ceased  to  urge  it  earnestly  at  all 
times  and  all  places,  in  season  and  out  of  season. 
There  were  some  other  minor  points  discussed  be- 
tween the  Fenian  leaders,  but  the  original  cause  of 
the  breach  in  the  ranks  does  not  seem  to  have 
been  anything  more  than  a  mere  difference  of  opi- 
nion between  some  of  the  leaders  as  to  the  manner  in 
which  the  campaign  which  is  to  break  the  British 
yoke  was  to  be  inaugurated.  That  a  blow  was  to 
be  struck  at  once  was  a  point  already  decided  on 
and  agreed  to  by  all  the  prominent  men  in  the  in- 
most or  directing  Circle  of  the  Brotherhood.  The 
disputed  point  was,  "Where  was  England's  most 
vulnerable,  and  at  the  same  time,  most  accessible 
point  ?  Would  it  be  feasible  to  fight  the  first  battle 
on  Irish  soil,  thus  literally  bearding  the  lion  in  his 
den,  or  would  it  be  advisable  to  adopt  the  plan  of 
first  securing  a  foothold  somewhere  on  the  American 
Continent  from  whence  to  deliver  the  first  blow  in 
the  coming  combat  ?  "  In  behalf  of  the  latter  plan,  it 
was  urged  that  it  would  be  comparatively  easy  to 
seize  upon  some  portion  of  the  Canadian  shore  by  a 
sudden  raid,  possess  themselves  of  the  principal  Cana- 
dian towns,  and  thus,  by  a  bold  stroke,  prove  to  the 
world  that  their  claims  to  be  considered  among  the 
"  powers  "  were  not  wholly  absurd,  and  their  hopes 
of  ultimate  success  not  entirely  chimerical.      By  this 


proceeding,  it  was  argued,  they  would  at  once  pos- 
sess themselves  of  large  quantities  of  much  needed 
war  material,  and  secure  sites  for  military  and  naval 
depots,  where  they  could  assemble  and  organize 
their  forces ;  through  the  great  St.  Lawrence  river 
they  could  dispatch  their  ships,  laden  with  troops 
and  munitions  of  war.  This  undertaking,  if  success- 
ful, would  give  them  a  claim  upon  the  nations  to  be 
•  accorded  the  rights  of  legitimate  belligerents,  and  not 
to  be  regarded  as  a  mere  revolutionary  horde,  and 
to  be  treated  as  pirates  if  captured  while  engaged  in 
destroying  or  damaging  English  commerce  on  the 
high  seas.  It  was  urged  tliat  it  would  be  useless  to 
attempt  to  throw  a  heavy  force  of  soldiers  into  Ire- 
land, except  by  the  means  of  large  and  thoroughly 
equipped  men-of-war  which  should  be  amply  able  to 
fight  their  way  in  case  of  being  attacked  by  British 
cruisers.  The  possession  of  the  large  towns  on  the 
St.  Lawreuce  would  give  them  the  opportunity  to 
man  and  load  the  large  ships  which  they  proposed 
to  purchase. 

The  opponents  of  this  scheme  objected  to  it,  not 
so  much  that  it  seemed  unlikely  to  succeed,  as 
that  it  would  almost  of  necessity  involve  a  breach  of 
the  neutrality  laws,  and  so  invite  the  immediate  and 
peremptory  interference  of  the  United  States.  It 
was  also  said,  that  the  money  of  the  organization 
had  been  given  by  the  donors  to  be  used  on  Irish 
soil,  in  aid  of  the  struggling  patriots  on  the  Green 
Isle  itself,  and  that  to  use  it  in  any  other  way  would 
be  a  perversion  of  the  fund  from  its  legitimate  ob- 
jects, and  an  inexcusable  breach  of  good  faith  with 
the  generous  Irish  sympathizers  in  this  country,  bj 


■whom  every  dollar  had  been  given;  and  that  it 
would  also  be  a  death-blow  to  the  eager  hopes  of 
the  "  Men  in  the  Gap,"  who  have  been  so  often  and 
so  positively  promised  aid  from  America,  without 
which  all  their  plans  must  fail,  and  all  their  sacrifices 
count  as  nothing. 

Many  and  anxious  were  the  discussions  of  the 
two  plans  by  the  Fenian  leaders ;  but  argument, 
instead  of  convincing,  seemed  only  to  aggravate  dif- 
ferences, to  engender  personal  animosities,  and  to 
stir  up  "  Envy,  hatred,  malice,  and  all  uncharitable- 

Time  brought  no  healing  on  his  wings,  but  day 
by  day  the  strife  grew  more  bitter.  The  advocates 
of  the  Canadian  invasion,  headed  by  Mr.  Wm. 
R.  Roberts  and  General  Thomas  W.  Sweeny  (who 
had  served  with  distuiction  in  the  Union  armies, 
during  the  Slaveholders'  Rebellion),  would  not  yield 
their  point ;  and  the  other  party,  under  the  influence 
of  O'Mahony,  as  positively  refused  to  adopt  the 
policy  of  their  opponents. 

Despite  the  discouragement  of  the  O'Mahony 
wing,  the  Roberts  men  proceeded  actively  in  their 
operations,  and  bought  a  large  quantity  of  guns  and 
other  war-stores,  enlisted  their  men,  and,  having 
decided  on  their  objective  point  in  Canada,  all 
things  were  soon  declared  to  be  nearly  in  readiness. 

Perceiving  that  the  Roberts  men  were  resolved  on 
their  Canadian  attempt,  Mr.  O'Mahony  finally  yield- 
ed to  a  plan  of  Mr.  B.  Doran  Killian's,  which  that 
gentleman  had  persistently  and  forcibly  urged  for 
some  time.  This  was  to  organize  a  movement  on 
Canada  in  opposition  to  the  Roberts'  raid,  and  by 


hurrying  their  own  men  first  to  that  ground,  to  thus 
foil  Roberts  with  his  own  weapons.  They  would 
thus  earn  for  themselves  all  the  eclat  that  was  to  be 
gained  by  being  the  first  to  inaugurate  Fenian  hos- 
tilities, and  also  to  strike  a  bold  blow  at  the  hated 
Lion  of  England  in  his  own  dominions.  Though 
his  better  judgment  never  approved  the  plan,  at  the 
last  moment  O'Mahony  gave  a  most  reluctant  con- 
sent, and  the  movement  was  begun. 

It  is  not  our  province,  in  this  little  book,  to  relate 
in  detail  the  features  of  that  lamentable  Campo 
Bello  fiasco.  Suffice  it  to  say,  that  it  was  a  most 
ludicrous  failure  in  every  point.  The  whole  plan, 
from  its  earliest  inception  to  its  ridiculous  termina- 
tion, seemed  to  be  known  in  advance  to  the  British 
authorities,  who  took  measures  to  countercheck  any 
move  which  could  be  made. 

Discouraged,  disheartened,  sick,  sore,  sad,  and 
sorry,  the  discomfited  Fenians  dispersed,  and,  with 
millions  of  hearty  curses  upon  all  connected  with 
the  management,  or  m^5management  of  the  afiair, 
they  slowly  found  their  way  back  to  their  respective 

Of  course  the  breach  was  now  wider  than  ever, 
and  the  bitter  recriminations  of  one  party  provoked 
retorts  quite  as  savage  and  severe. 

During  the  early  progress  of  the  Campo  Bello 
scheme,  while,  in  fact,  it  was  in  its  infancy,  a  grand 
meeting  of  delegates  convened  from  the  Circles 
which  remained  true  to  the  O'Mahony  interest, 
and  in  a  rapid  but  exceedingly  busy  session,  they, 
with  wonderful  unanimity,  expelled  O'Mahony  from 
his  office  as  Head  Centre  of  the  Fenian   Organiza- 


tion.  .  Killian  was  also  similarly  expelled,  and  both 
were  notified  to  turn  over  their  books,  documents, 
and  funds,  to  a  committee  that  had  been  appointed 
to  take  charge  of  them,  and  who  were  to  manage 
the  affairs  of  the  Brotherhood  until  the  arrival  of 
Stephens,  who  was  soon  expected. 

Meantime,  the  Roberts  party,  with  their  "  Sen- 
ate "  and  their  Secretaries  of  War  and  the  Kavy, 
etc.,  still  kept  on  as  before,  with  much  talk  of 
mighty  warlike  preparations  being  made  in  secret. 

This  was  the  condition  of  affairs  at  the  time  of 
the  advent  of  the  great  Chief  Organizer  on  the  10th 
of  May,  1866.  The  breach  he  was  expected  to  heal 
seemed  too  wide  to  be  spanned,  but  the  Chief  Or- 
ganizer went  manfully  about  the  difficult  task.  How 
he  succeeded  Time  alone  can  show,  for  as  yet  the 
problem  is  unsolved. 

^  ^  V*  ^  •}•  "J*  ^ 


To  set  about  this  great  work,  it  was  necessary  for 
Mr.  Stephens  to  come  to  America.  And  accord- 
ingly, on  the  11th  of  March,  he  left  Dublin  in  com- 
pany with  Colonel  Kelly  and  proceeded  to  a  small 
harbor  on  the  coast,  where  arrangements  *had  been 
made  to  have  a  schooner  in  waiting  to  convey  him 
to  France.  But  a  storm  coming  up  prevented  the 
schooner  entering  the  harbor,  and  the  two  conspira- 
tors were  compelled  to  remain  over  night.  In  the 
morning,  a  British  revenue  cutter  came  into  the 
port,  and  all  hope  of  getting  aboard  the  schooner 
was  destroyed.     The  two  then  returned  to  Dublin 


and  made  other  arrangements.  On  the  following 
day,  Mr.  Stephens  drove  through  the  streets  of  Dub- 
lin in  an  open  carriage,  alighted  at  one  of  the  docks, 
and  going  on  board  a  small  schooner,  was  soon  float 
ino-  with  the  tide  out  of  the  harbor  to  the  Eng;lisb 
Channel.  Colonel  Kelly  was  again  his  companion 
Entering  the  Channel,  they  encountered  head  winds 
and  stormy  weather ;  were  driven  out  of  their  course 
many  miles,  and  finally  were  forced  to  put  into  Car- 
rickfergus  Bay.  Again,  they  essayed  to  cross  the 
Channel,  and  again  encountered  head  winds  and 
rough  weather,  but  finally  succeeded  in  making  the 
little  town  of  x\rdrossan  in  Scotland.  Here  a  car 
was  procured  which  conveyed  them  to  a  neighbor- 
ing railway  station,  where  they  took  the  train  to 
London.  Neither  was  disguised  in  any  manner,  and 
the  entire  journey  was  made  openly  without  any  at- 
tempt at  concealment.  That  night,  on  their  arrival 
in  London,  the  Chief  of  the  Irish  Conspiracy  and 
his  Lieutenant  slept  at  the  Palace  Hotel,  directly 
opposite  Buckingham  Palace.  The  passage  through 
England  was  made  on  St,  Patrick's  Day,  the  eighth 
anniversary  of  the  Fenian  Conspiracy.  The  English 
newspapers  at  this  time  were  in  the  midst  of  a  panic 
created  by  the  rumors  which  reached  them  from  the 
manufacturing  districts.  In  these  districts  Fenian- 
ism  was  wide-spread  among  the  workmen,  and  they 
had  threatened  that,  in  case  England  pursued 
towards  the  Fenians  in  Ireland  the  policy  she  had 
threatened,  they  would  retaliate  by  burning  all  the 
manufacturing  towns  and  destroying  English  pro- 
perty wherever  found.  At  this  time,  Sir  Hugh  Rose, 
known  as  "  The  Butcher  of  India,"  was  the  com- 


niandant  of  Her  Majesty's  forces  in  Irelaitl,  and  had 
sought  authority  to  pursue  towards  the  Fenians  the 
same  course  he  had  adopted  with  the  rebel  Sepoys 
in  India,  viz.  blow  them  from  the  mouths  of  his 
cannon,  roast  them  alive,  etc.,  etc.  The  Irish  in 
England  indicated  their  determination  to  retaliate 
on  English  soil  in  case  any  such  horrible  outrages 
were  perpetrated  upon  their  brother-Irishmen  at 
home.  The  country  press  was  justly  alarmed,  and 
great  excitement  prevailed  in  consequence.  Having 
rested  themselves  sufficiently,  Mr.  Stephens  and 
Colonel  Kelly  took  the  train  to  Dover,  thence  to 
Calais,  and,  on  the  night  of  the  18th  of  April,  re- 
lieved of  all  thought  of  danger,  and  beyond  the 
reach  of  their  persecutors,  they  slept  peacefully  in 

Mr.  Stephens,  while  in  Paris,  was  cordially  re- 
ceived by  many  prominent  French  noblerAen  and 
politicians,  among  whom  was  the  Marquis  de  Boissy. 
At  his  house  the  Irish  revolutionist  ate  and  drank, 
receiving  from  his  kind  host  words  of  sympathy  and 
encouragement.  While  in  Paris,  Mr.  Stephens  was 
joined  by  his  wife,  and  having  provided  for  her  a 
proper  residence  in  which  to  remain  during  his 
American  visit,  he  was  prepared  to  leave  the  land 
in  which  he  had,  for  the  third  time,  found  so  many 
friends  in  the  hour  of  his  trouble. 


On  the  28th  day  of  March  he  embarked  from 
Havre  in  the  steamship  Napoleon  HI.,  and,  after  a 
voyage  of  thirteen  days,  the  "  Central  Organizer  of 


the  Irish  Republic"  arrived  in  New  York  on  the 
evening  of  Thursday,  May  10,  1866.  His  arrival 
had  been  expected  for  several  days,  and  the  two  or 
three  hours'  notice  given  by  the  outlying  telegraph 
at  Sandy  Hook,  was  amply  sufficient  for  the  gather- 
ing of  a  large  and  most  enthusiastic  crowd  which 
assembled  about  the  dock  where  the  French  steamer 
was  to  land  her  passengers. 

Would  it  be  well  to  attempt  to  describe  the  feel- 
ing among  the  Fenians  ?  We  think  not.  A  more 
excited  set  of  men  and  women  was  never  known. 
A  Committee  from  the  Moffat  mansion  had  been 
appointed  to  receive  the  distinguised  Conspirator, 
and  were  anxiously  awaiting  him  at  the  dock,  Mr. 
Stephens  was  first  seen  and  recognised  by  the  Com- 
mittee as  the  ship  was  swinging  her  stern  into  the  slip, 
and  when  recognised  he  was  cheered  vociferously  by 
the  Committeemen  and  others  who  had  been  admitted 
within  the  gates.  These  plaudits  assured  the  great 
multitude  outside  and  on  neighboring  wharves  that 
the  chief  of  the  Fenians  was  really  about  to  step  on 
American  soil,  and  they  took  up  the  cheers  and 
threw  their  hats  high  in  air  in  unbounded  enthusi- 
asm. The  news  of  the  distinguised  arrival  had  been 
communicated  to  the  shipping  in  the  harbor,  and  the 
passing  steamers  blew  a  deafening  welcome,  while 
a  piece  of  Fenian  artillery  on  the  New  Jersey  shore 
thundered  forth  a  national  salute.  The  masses  of 
human  beings  on  West  street  and  on  the  wharves — 
and  particularly  outside  the  gates  of  Pier  No.  50 — 
became  denser  and  denser  as  the  minutes  flew  on,  and 
the  number  of  privileged  persons  who  were  per- 
mitted to  pass  the  gates  grew  apace,  until  the  ship 


was  ready  to  take  aboard  her  gang-plank.  At  this 
moment  the  pressure  towards  the  ship's  gangway- 
was  not  only  decidedly  uncomfortable  but  really 
perilous;  a  platoon  of  policemen  soon  cleared  the 
required  space,  and  when  the  gang-plank  had  been 
properly  adjusted,  the  distinguished  guest  of  the 
Committee  appeared,  leaning  on  the  arm  of  Colonel 
Kelly.  A  deafening  huzza  went  up,  and  in  another 
moment  the  Fenian  Chief  was  in  the  midst  of  his 
Irish-American  friends.  A  brief  consultation  ensued, 
and  Mr.  Stephens  and  staiF,  consisting  of  Capt.  M.  E. 
O'Brien,  of  Keokuk,  Iowa;  Lieut.  William  Smith 
O'Brien,  of  Detroit ;  Lieut.  James  M.  Gibbons,  of 
New  York,  and  Chief-Engineer  Thomas  Moore,  were 
conducted  to  the  coaches  in  waiting. 

The  impetuosity  of  a  Celtic- American  crowd  is 
proverbial.  The  one  which  gathered  on  the 
wharves  and  in  the  streets  that  day  was  particularly 
so ;  and  the  wild  and  enthusiastic  Fenians,  in  their 
unbridled  love  for  their  chief,  came  near  killing 
him  with  kindness  before  they  had  fairly  made  his 

Outside  the  gates  the  crush  was  fearful.  It  was 
with  extreme  difficulty  that  the  Committee  were 
able  to  get  Mr.  Stephens  and  staff  safely  into  their 
carriages  and  off  the  pier  ;  and  it  is  indeed  matter 
of  wonder  that  of  the  multitudes  who  climbed  upon 
the  vehicles,  and  almost  fell  under  the  horses'  feet 
in  endeavoring  to  get  their  hands  through  the  coach 
windows  and  into  those  of  Stephens,  not  one  was  the 
victim  of  any  accident. 

The  coaches  were  driven  off  at  a  moderate  trot 
up  Barrow-street,  with  a  noisy  multitude  bringing 


up  the  rear  and  on  the  sides  of  the  street ;  and  this 
crowd  rapidly  augmented  until,  on  the  arrival  of  the 
party  at  the  Metropolitan  Hotel,  it  filled  Broadway 
from  curb  to  curb. 

In  the  course  of  the  many  interviews  which  Mr. 
Stephens  held  with  his  friends  and  admirers  that 
evening,  though  they  were,  from  the  nature  of  the 
circumstances,  short  and  hurried,  he  assured  his 
friends  that  he  had  not  even  dreamed  of  making  the 
transit  of  the  Atlantic  until  long  after  the  disastrous 
division  occurred  in  the  Fenian  organization  here, 
and  he  should  not  even  now  have  come  had  not 
many  warm  friends  urged  him  to  visit  America  with 
a  view  to  harmonizing  the  Fenian  Order.  He  had 
come  to  conciliate  and  to  win,  if  possible,  every  true 
Irishman  over  to  one  common  Centre,  through  whom 
the  great  work  of  liberating  Ireland  may  yet  be 
made  an  accomplished  fact.  The  people  of  Ireland 
were  ripe  for  the  shock  of  war  in  September  last,  and 
he  had  no  doubt  that  Ireland  might  have  now  been 
one  of  the  sovereign  nations  of  the  earth  had  it  not 
been  for  the  rupture  of  the  organization  here.  But 
even  if  the  nation's  independence  could  not  have 
been  achieved  in  so  short  a  time,  certainly  the  power 
of  the  British  army  in  Ireland  could  have  been 
broken,  and  by  this  time  England  would  have  lost 
her  foothold  everywhere  except  on  the  coast  and  in 
the  seaboard  cities.  But  he  said  the  work  may  yet 
be  wrought  out  if  Irishmen  in  America  will  make  a 
united  effort.  He  was  willing  that  bygones  should 
be  bygones,  and  that  all  past  acrimonious  speeches 
might  be  now  forgotten,  and  all  private  animosities 
merged  in  the  one  desire  to  place  the  cause  of  Ire- 


land  on  a  sure  and  hopeful  footing.  For  his  own 
part,  he  Dromised  to  throw  himself  unreservedly  into 
any  measure  which  should  promise  to  hasten  that 
great  and  glorious  future  which  he  so  fondly  antici- 
pates for  his  native  land,  no  matter  by  whom  such  a 
scheme  or  plan  should  be  originated. 


The  personal  appearance  of  Mr.  Stephens  made  a 
decidedly  favorable  impression  upon  the  many 
friends  who  called  to  see  him  at  his  hotel.  He  is  a 
thick-set,  wiry-looking  man,  about  five  feet  three  or 
four  inches  tall,  and  dresses  in  a  jDlain,  simple  busi- 
ness suit.  His  head  is  quite  bald,  revealing  a  bold, 
prominent  forehead.  What  hair  he  has  is  of  a  light 
color,  wavy  in  appearance,  and  very  fine.  His  com- 
plexion is  florid,  his  eye  keen  and  penetrating.  The 
expression  of  his  face  is  mild,  and,  when  lighted  up 
with  smiles,  his  eyes  beaming  with  mirth,  is  very  plea- 
sant to  look  upon.  His  manners  are  exceedingly  afia- 
ble  and  agreeable,  and  his  language  betokens  the  true 
Irish  gentleman.  The  words  which  flow  from  his 
mouth  are  tinged  with  that  "  sweet  Irish  brogue  " 
which  is  so  pleasant  to  hear  when  spoken  by  persons 
of  cultivation. 

The  subjoined  "  Phrenological  Description "  of 
Mr.  Stephens  is  so  good  and  true  that  it  is  worthy 
of  being  copied : 

"  His  is  the  face  of  a  man  who  is  confessedly  the  most  accom- 
plished '  conspirator,'  or  organizer  of  conspiracy,  Ireland  has  seen 
since  the  days  of  the  gallant  and  self-devoted  Theobald  Wolfe 
Tone.  But  I  see  no  resemblance  between  the  two  men.  In  the 
portrait  of  Tone  you  have  a  delicate,  slender  face,  which  would 
be  almost  womanish  but  for  the  firm  chin,  the  nervous-breathing 


nostril,  and  the  quick-glancing,  brilliant  eye.  This  is  a  comely 
face,  too,  but  of  a  different  order.  Tone's  was  fiery,  soldierly ; 
the  prevailing  expression  here,  at  first  sight,  is  unqualified  l)on- 
homie — the  unruffled  good-humor  of  a  man  who  is  content  with 
himself  and  all  the  world  beside. 

"  Look  a  little  more  closely  at  this  face.  Meeting  its  owner  in 
the  street,  in  this  bearded  age,  you  would  pass  him.  by  as  a  re- 
spectable citizen  in  ihe  prime  of  life  (engaged  in  commerce,  per- 
haps), the  placid  serenity  of  whose  mind  was  not  disturbed  by 
even  the  thought  of  a  bill  of  exchange  to  be  met  on  the  fourth 
of  the  month.  There  is  a  quiet  smile  on  the  mouth  and  a  cheerful 
gleam,  a  very  amusing  twinkle  of  dry  humor  in  the  eyes — no 
more.  Sarely  thousands  who  have  seen  this  portrait  must  have 
felt  sadly  disappointed.  The  general  English  mind  pictured  the 
original  as  a  modern  G-uy  Fawkes:  a  dark,  frowning  villain,  who 
lurked  in  hidden  places,  and  went  abroad  at  night,  with  revolv- 
ers in  his  bosom  and  a  dagger  in  his  sleeve — a  keen-eyed,  hook- 
nosed, thin-lipped,  sloucliing  fellow,  who  would  as  soon  blow  the 
Lord-lieutenant,  and  the  privy  council,  and  the  bishops  to  boot 
into  eternity,  as  bless  himself  What  a  disappointment  to  those 
who  conjured  up  such  a  picture,  this  placid,  good-humored,  self- 
contented  face  must  be. 

"  But  look  again.  The  face  of  a  fair-haired  man  this  is,  with 
bald  temples  and  flowing  beard.  The  forehead  is  unusually 
massive,  but  so  rounded  and  dome-like  in  shape  as  to  have  that 
massiveness  much  softened  down.  What  the  phrenologists  would 
call  the  organs  of  benevolence  and  ideality  are  very  large.  The 
perceptive  organs  are  remarkably  well  developed,  as  are  those 
of  locality  and  time;  and  I  have  never  seen  what  is  called  the 
organ  of  individuality  more  largely  developed,  except  in  one  or 
two  great  actors.  If  there  be  the  least  shadow  of  truth  in  the 
so-called  science  of  phrenology,  the  owner  of  this  face  must  be  a 
marvellous  reader  of  character.  This  is  what  is  called  a  '  well- 
bred  '  face ;  the  expression  is  decidedly  gentlemanly,  and  you 
could  not  possibly  conceive  the  original  being  obtrusive  or  self- 
asserting  in  general  company;  on  the  contrary,  I  should  set  him 
down  as  a  retiring  person.  But  clear  through  all  this  outward 
show,  as  through  a  filmy  veil,  comes  another  and  a  deeper  ex- 
pression— the  inner  man.  I  read  absolute  and  unbounded  self- 
reliance  ;  firm,  calm,  indomitable,  iron  will ;  unqualified  behef  in 
a  cause,  and  unshaken  confidence  in  its  ultimate  success  in  spite 
of  every  disaster.  Here  is  the  face  of  a  man  whom  no  defeat 
conquers ;  stopped  and  baulked  on  one  path  without  fretting  or 
chafing,  he  calmly  turns  to  another,  and  marches  on.  With  a 
massive  brain,  (and  so  equally  balanced  a  brain  I  have,  perhaps, 
never  seen,  as  this  portrait  seems  to  indicate),  teeming  with  in- 
exhaustible resources,  he  flings  away  his  failing  scheme,  without 
a  moment's  hesitation,  to  grasp  at  a  new  one,  and  runs  the  whole 
scale  of  plot  and  contrivance  with  the  ease  of  an  artist  at  his  piano. 


"  No  failure  can  daunt  such  a  man ;  with  such  a  man,  to  cease 
to  strive  is  to  cease  to  live.  This  all-abounding  faith  in  himself 
and  his  cause,  and  inexhaustible  fertility  of  resources,  would  buoy 
him  up  amid  the  billows  of  an  ocean  of  disasters.  But  there  is 
another  characieristic  of  which  mention  should  not  be  omitted. 
This  portrait  indicates  a  man  singularly  gifted  with  the  power  of 
winning  the  affection  and  confidence  of  others.  It  is  not  that 
graceful  bonho7nie,  that  hearty  manner,  that  genial  sjnile  (which, 
by  the  way,  cannot  overmaster  the  keen,  clear,  piercing  glance  of 
the  eye),  which  helped  him  alone  in  this ;  it  is,  that  the  magnetic 
power  of  his  own  unbounded  faith  inspires  like  faith  in  the  breasts 
of  others.  In  conclusion,  this  is  the  face  of  a  man  of  great  vital 
power  and  intense  nervous  energy.  The  blending  of  oak-like  firm- 
ness and  velvet  softness  which  I  read  in  this  fine  head  and  face  is 
very  singular ;  it  recalls  the  old  idea  of  the  iron  hand  in  the  velvet 
glove.  This  head  is  a  noble  specimen  of  the  Soutliern  Irish  type, 
which  I  have  already  pointed  out.  But,  talking  of  hands,  have  you 
ever  noted  how  a  man's  hand  serves  as  an  index  of  character  ?  In 
the  portrait  before  me,  the  arms  are  folded,  and  the  left  hand  rests 
on  tlie  right  arm.  It  is  soft  and  white,  with  long  tapering  pre- 
hensile fingers.  A  very  significant  hand,  that,  not  so  much  ex- 
pressive of  power  as  of  undjnng  tenacity  of  purpose.  At  the  foot 
of  the  portrait,  I  read  the  name — James  Stephens." 



On  the  evening  following  the  arrival  of  Mr.  Ste- 
phens in  N'ew  York,  he  was  serenaded  at  his  hotel. 
A  dense  crowd  collected  in  the  street,  completely 
blocking  it  up  from  curb  to  curb  for  the  distance  of 
an  entire  square.  At  eleven  o'clock,  Mr.  Stephens 
appeared  upon  the  balcony  of  the  hotel,  his  presence 
being  greeted  by  the  crowd  with  tremendous  cheers, 
flinging  up  of  hats,  etc.  He  thanked  theni  kind- 
ly for  the  honor  done  him,  but  declined  making  a 
lengthy  speech  until  such  time  as  he  should  have 
made  himself  more  familiar  with  the  existing  troubles 
among  his  countrymen  in  America.  The  enthusi- 
astic multitude  would  scarcely  permit  him  to  retire, 
insisting  upon  being  allowed  the  privilege  of  looking 


at  him  though  he  said  not  a  word.  Upon  being 
assured  that  he  would  address  thera  at  a  future  day, 
he  was  allowed  to  return  to  his  rooms. 

The  first  official  act  performed  by  Mr.  Stephens 
after  his  arrival  in  New  York  was  the  acceptance  of 
the  resignation  of  Colonel  John  O'Mahony  as  Head 
Centre  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood.  The  following 
correspondence,  in  reference  to  this  patriotic  move 
on  the  part  of  Colonel  O'Mahony,  explains  the  mo- 
tives w^hich  prompted  him  to  such  action  : 

Headquarters  F.  B.,  ) 

New  York,  May  11,  1866.  \ 
James  Stephens^  G.  E.  F.  B. : 

Brother:  I  feel  it  to  be  imperatively  incumbent  upon  me,  at 
this  momentous  crisis  in  Irish  affairs,  to  tender  you  my  resigna- 
tion as  the  Head  Centre  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  and  Agent  of 
the  Irish  Republic. 

My  reasons  for  this  step  are  twofold.  The  first  is  my  con- 
sciousness of  the  fact  that  in  consenting  to  the  recent  disastrous 
attempt  to  capture  Campo  Bello,  I  violated  my  duty,  not  alone  to 
the  Fenian  Brotherhood  and  the  Irish  Republic,  but  to  the  best 
interests  of  the  Irish  race,  as  also  to  my  previous  unvaried  policy. 
It  matters  little  now  to  recapitulate  what  were  the  arguments 
and  what  the  pressure  brought  to  bear  upon  me  in  order  to  force 
me  to  depart  from  my  settled  plan  of  action.  Enough  that  the 
attempt  has  ended  in  disaster — that  the  energies  of  the  Brother- 
hood have  been  paralysed,  and  that,  unless  you  can  restore  it  to 
hope  and  vigor,  its  object  will  have  been  defeated  and  its  long 
years  of  hopeful  trial  will  have  ended  in  a  fiasco. 

My  second  reason  for  resigning  arises  from  a  hope  that  I  shall 
thereby  remove  an  obstacle  to  union  upon  a  common  Irish  plat- 
form, under  your  guidance,  among  all  of  my  countrymen  that  are 
true  and  sincere  in  the  cause  of  our  native  land.  Mixed  up  as  I 
have  been  in  the  recent  quarrels  among  the  American  Fenians, 
many  good  Irishmen  may  regard  me  with  feehngs  of  personal 
hostility  with  which  they  cannot  now  regard  you. 

Trusting  that  your  advent  to  America,  at  the  present  juncture, 
may  be  productive  of  all  the  good  to  our  race  that  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood  and  myself  expect  of  it,  and  that  it  may  promote 
unity  of  plan  and  concert  of  action,  fraternal  harmony  with  sted- 
fast  hope  and  firm  resolve  in  the  Fenian  ranks,  I  have  the  honor 
to  remain  in  fraternity, 

Your  obedient  servant. 

John  O'Mahony,  H.  C.  F.  B. 


Mr.   Stephens'   acceptance  of  the  resignation  is 

couched  in  the  following  language  : 

Metropolitan  Hotel,  New  York,  May  11,  1866. 
To  John  GMahony,  Esq. : 

Brother  :  In  my  opinion  you  have  acted  wisely  and  patriotically 
in  tendering  your  resignation  under  actual  circumstances.  No  man 
worth  that  name  questions  your  honor  and  devotion  to  Ireland. 
But  the  united  action  we  desire  so  much,  and  to  effect  which  I 
left  Ireland,  at  your  invitation,  would  be  impossible  while  you  di- 
rected affairs  here.  It  must  be  needless  to  tell  you  why.  I  feel 
bound,  however,  to  say  that,  in  sanctioning  the  late  most  deplorable 
divergence  from  the  true  path,  you  not  only  gave  proof  of  weak- 
ness, but  committed  a  crime  less  excusable  in  you  than  any  other 
man.  For  you  should  have  known  that  your  project,  however 
successful,  would  have  resulted  in  our  ruin.  And  you  should  have 
recollected  how  I  supported  you  in  a  critical  moment,  because  I 
believed  you  were  opposed  to  every  project  that  would  lead  the 
true  Irishmen  of  this  continent  from  the  original  aim  and  holiest 
duty  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood — direct  assistance  to  the  '  men 
in  the  gap.'  Everything  considered  then,  I  feel  imperatively 
called  on  to  accept  your  resignation.  But  while  accepting  it  I 
still  rely  upon  your  hearty  cooperation,  as  I  now  rely  on  the  co- 
operation of  every  true  man  of  our  race. 

Convinced  that  the  Irish  people  are  with  me  everywhere,  I 
have  not  a  doubt  of  being  able  to  accomplish  what  I  came  for ; 
and  so,  in  good  cheer,  and  unswerving  faith,  I  am  yours,  fraternally, 

James  Stephens,  C.  0. 1.  R. 

This  act  af  Colonel  O'Mahony  was  considered 
by  the  members  of  the  Brotherhood  as  an  unsel- 
fish and  purely  patriotic  proceeding,  and  gave 
universal  satisfaction.  It  was  hoped  and  be- 
lieved that  the  example  would  be  followed  by  the 
leader  of  the  other  Fenian  wing,  and  that  Colonel 
Roberts  would  at  once  proffer  his  resignation. 

But  this  was  not  to  be.  The  Senate  would  not 
listen  to  the  proposition,  that  body  having  become 
too  fully  committed  to  the  Canadian  invasion  policy 
to  permit  them  to  recede.  In  justice  to  Mr.  Rob- 
erts, however,  it  should  be  stated  that  he  expressed 
his  earnest  wish  to  do  whatever  should  be  deemed 


best  for  his  native  country,  and  to  unite  the  Brother- 
hood in  America. 



The  Fenian  Brotherhood  of  New  York,  desiring 
to  give  Mr.  Stephens  a  public  reception,  and  also  to 
affording  him  an  opportunity  of  explaining  to  his 
countrymen  the  condition  of  affairs  in  their  native 
land,  resolved  upon  holding  an  open-air  festival. 
Jones'  Wood,  a  large  park  in  the  suburbs  of  the 
city,  was  the  place  selected  for  this  demonstration, 
and  Tuesday,  May  15th,  the  time  appointed.  The 
time  for  preparation  was  short ;  and  the  notices  of 
the  meeting  were  not  so  generally  circulated  as  they 
should  have  been.  An  admission  fee  of  half  a  dollar 
was  charged,  the  proceeds  to  be  immediately  turned 
over  to  Mr.  Stephens  for  the  benefit  of  the  cause  in 
Ireland.  Despite  these  drawbacks,  and  the  fact  that 
the  meeting  was  held  on  a  week-day,  when  few  me- 
chanics could  leave  their  workshops,  a  great  crowd 
was  present.  Not  less  than  15,000  people  contri- 
buted to  the  enthusiasm  of  the  occasion. 

A  large  number  of  Fenian  Circles  sent  duly  ap- 
pointed delegates,  most  of  whom  were  assigned  to 
duty  in  the  preservation  of  good  order  and  the  sale 
of  tickets.  Members  of  the  following,  among  other 
circles,  were  present,  bearing  flags,  banners,  and 
mottoes,  and  marching  to  the  sound  of  the  ever 
popular  and  stirring  music  of  dear  old  Erin.  Ham- 
ilton Rowan  Club,  Brian  Boru,  Malachi,  McHale, 
Renburg,  Red  Hand,  Wolfe  Tone  Cadets,  Davis, 
Fontenoy  Cadets,  Corcoran,  Brother  Sheares,  Lor 


ville,  Clontarf,  O'Mahony,  Tara,  Faugh-a-ballagh, 
James  Stephens,  Garryowen,  Long  Island,  Con- 
naught  Rangers,  Sarsfield,  Stephens,  Hibernia,  Wolf 
Tone,  Roek  of  Cashel,  O'Gorman,  Killian,  Geral- 
dine,  Clark  Luby,  Richard  D.  Williams,  Hugh 
O'Neil,  Garryowen  Cadets,  Michael  Moore,  St. 
Patrick,  Irish  People,  Volunteers  of  1782,  Thomas 
Francis  Meagher,  O'Regan,  General  Kearney, 
McClellan,  Gem  of  the  Sea,  Robert  Emmet,  Patrick 
Henry,  Sarsfield  Cadets,  Owen  Roe  O'N'eill,  Napper 
Tandy,  Lord  Clare,  Harp  of  Erin,  Dungannon,  Vol- 
unteers of  1782,  Dalcette,  Hope,  Montgomery, 
Vinegar  Hill,  John  O'Leary,  O'Donnell-Aboo,  St. 
Lawrence  O'Toole,  Cahir  O'Doughty,  IN'eptune, 
J.  Barry,  and  United  Irishmen. 

Among  those  persons  present  in  the  Committee- 
room  to  receive  the  distinguished  leader  of  the  Irish 
people,  were  Major-General  Joe  Hooker  and  Briga- 
dier-General Ruggles,  of  General  Meade's  stafl'; 
Judge  Connolly  and  Denis  J.  Gaffney,  of  Albany, 
who  studied  law  with  Thomas  Addis  Emmet ;  Colo- 
nel P.  J.  Downing,  John  J.  Marion,  Centre,  of  Al- 
bany ;  Colonel  Thomas  Philip  O'Reilly,  of  General 
Sherman's  staff;  Michael  R.  Kenney,  State  Centre, 
N'ew  Jersey ;  John  McKenna,  Troy,  State  Centre, 
New  York  ;  Jeremiah  Kavanagh,  California. 

At  half-past  two  o'clock  an  order  was  issued  to 
those  in  the  reception-room  to  fall  in  procession. 
When  the  movement  commenced,  all  was  smooth 
sailing  till  it  came  in  contact  with  the  crowd  out- 
side, when  such  a  rush  took  place  as  displaced  the 
guard  who  were  clearing  a  passage.  Mr.  Stephens 
was  hurried  through  a  narrow  space  by  a  few  mem- 


bers  of  the  Committee,  and  though  there  was  a  con- 
tinual pressure  of  the  crowd  in  whatever  point  he 
advanced,  he  treated  them  in  the  style  of  his  retreat 
from  Richmond  Prison.  While  some  of  his  attend- 
ants were  tugging  with  the  crowd  to  save  their  coat- 
skirts,  he  was  up  the  ladder  and  in  his  position  on 
the  platform.  An  indiscriminate  throng,  with  over- 
powering force,  swept  policemen  and  guards  aside 
and  gained  the  summit.  Efforts  were  made  to  stem 
the  pressure,  in  which  some  luckless  individuals 
were  precipitated  from  their  lofty  eminence  to  the 
nether  regions.  Everything  was  now  chaos,  and  the 
"hero  of  Richmond,"  proverbial  for  ingenuity  and 
stratagem,  executed  a  flank  movement  on  the  be- 
wildered occupants  of  the  platform.  He  descended, 
and  without  much  difficulty  took  his  stand  on  the 
small  stage  adjacent. 

After  order  and  silenctft  were  to  some  extent  ob- 
tained, Mr.  Stephens  proceeded  to  address  the  assem- 
blage as  follows : 

Friends  of  Ireland,— Towards  the  close  of  December,  1857, 
a  young  Irishman  called  at  my  residence  in  Dublin,  bringing  me 
letters  from  Colonel  O'Mahony  and  from  the  late  Colonel  Michael 
Doheny.  He  had  also  an  oral  communication  to  make  himself; 
but  all  was  to  the  effect  that  an  organization  had  been  esta- 
blished in  A.merica,  of  which  Colonel  Doheny  was  appointed  the 
chief,  and  I  was  requested  to  commence  an  organization  and  to 
direct  it  in  Ireland.  At  that  time  the  cause  of  Ireland  was  so 
low  at  home  as  well  as  abroad — in  fact,  throughout  the  world — 
that  few  men  of  any  brains  or  position  could  be  got  to  take  part 
in  it.  They  did  not  know  the  people.  The  Irish  people  were 
then,  as  ever,  sound.  Their  hearts  were  in  the  right  place,  and 
they  only  required  to  be  shown  what  to  do  that  they  might  do 
it.  On  my  return  to  Ireland  after  seven  years'  exile,  the  lirst 
thing  I  did  was  to  travel  through  the  country  in  every  direction 
to  derive  a  thorough  knowledge  of  the  people,  and  to  see  what 
could  be  done.  I  devoted  a  whole  year  to  that,  during  which 
time  I  travelled  three  thousand  miles  on  foot.    (A  Voice — "  Were 


you  ever  in  Tipperary  ?  "  (Cheers.)  Yes,  often.  There  is  not  a 
spot  from  Slievenamon  to  BalUnderry  that  I  don't  know.  (G-rfiat 
cheering.)     You  know  the  words  of  Thomas  Davis, 

From  Carrick-on-Suir  to  Galtamore, 
From  Slievenamon  to  Ballinderry.     (Great  cheering.) 

You  see  I  know  it.  "With  this  knowledge  of  the  people  I  con- 
scientiously answered  the  letters  of  ray  friends  in  America,  and 
on  certain  conditions  I  undertook  to  organize  a  force  of  ten  thou- 
sand men  in  three  months  in  Ireland.  I  undertook  to  do  no 
more  at  that  time.  The  conditions  I  exacted  were  twofold. 
First,  that  I  should  have  absolute  direction  and  control  of  the 
organization.  I  believe  that  you  know  this  was  a  conspiracy, 
and  a  conspiracy  in  Ireland  against  British  rule.  And  I  believe  it 
utterly  impossible  for  any  oppressed  nationality  to  organize  such 
a  power  as  could  effect  its  independence  without  a  conspiracy, 
and  without  one  man  having  the  supreme  control  in  that  conspi- 
racy. For  that  reason,  and  for  that  alone,  in  the  interest  of  the 
movement  I  undertook  to  unite,  I  deemed  it  necessary  to  make 
that  the  first  condition — that  I  should  have  supreme  control  of  the 
organization.  The  second  condition  was  that  I  should  be  sup- 
plied with  certain  sums  of  money  per  month.  I  asked  for  the 
small  sura  of  from  £80  to  £100  a  month  for  the  first  three 
months.  After  this  time,  having  organized  ten  thousand  men,  I 
meant  to  have  made  other  proposals.  I  sent  a  trusted  friend, 
who  has  since  been  in  an  Irish  prison,  to  America,  on  that  occa- 
sion, with  my  answer.  On  the  17th  March,  1858,  he  returned; 
he  had  found  no  organization  in  America,  only  a  kw  devoted 
men,  at  the  head  of  which  was  Mr.  Doheny — (a  voice — "  Poor 
fellow,  I  knew  him  well !  ") — who  had  held  together  against  all 
circumstances  in  America,  and  who  were  then  endeavoring  to 
keep  the  Irish  feeling  alive  and  make  it  a  pov;^er  there.  But  he 
found  no  organization.  There  was  but  this  nucleus  of  twenty  or 
thirty  men.  They  accepted  my  conditions  and  sent  me  a  paper 
endorsing,  so  far  as  thej'  could  endorse  it,  my  action  in  Ireland. 
On  the  17th  of  March,  then,  1858,  I  began  the  organization  in 
Ireland.  As  I  told  you,  it  was  a  conspiracy.  To  become  a  mem- 
ber of  this  conspiracy  it  was  necessary  to  take  an  oath.  You 
have  heard  a  good  deal  on  the  subject  of  this  oath,  but  perhaps 
you  have  not  heard  my  real  reason  for  making  it  an  essential  con- 
dition of  membership.  I  had  been  in  the  movement  in  1848 
with  Smith  O'Brien,  and  we  found  when  we  had  a  hundred,  or 
two  or  three  hundred  men  around  us,  if  we  happened  to  meet 
in  any  place  where  the  clergymen  happened  to  be  against 
the  movement,  they  invariably  spoke  against  it,  and  they 
were  able  to  scatter  our  force,  such  as  it  was.  This  was 
because  the  people  had  not  been  trained ;  they  had  not  got  the 
necessary  training,  and  it  was  necessary  to  get  the  people,  in 


my  mind,  to  distinguish  between  the  twofold  character  of  the 
priest — the  clergymen  of  all  classes — to  distinguish  between 
their  temporal  and  spiritual  character.  "We  have  invariably 
inculcated  upon  our  friends  the  duty  of  giving  obedience  and 
submitting  in  all  devotion  to  their  clergy  in  their  spiritual 
character,  but  that  in  their  temporal  character  they  were  simply 
to  look  upon  them  as  citizens.  (Vociferous  cheering.)  Without 
this  training  you  never  could  have  a  force  in  Ireland  on  whom 
3'ou  could  reply.  "We  then  made  the  oath  a  condition  of  mem- 
bership, and  we  have  continued  to  make  it  so.  It  shall  not  be 
changed.  (Cries  of  "Good.")  The  first  instalment  of  the 
money  sent  to  me  from  America  (£90),  I  received  on  the  17th  of 
March,  1858.  The  second  instalment  was  to  have  reached  me  a 
month  from  that;  but  the  months  of  April,  May,  and  June,  went 
by  without  my  receiving  anything.  Then,  tlie  second  time,  I  had 
to  send  out  my  trusted  friend  to  America  to  state  the  case.  The 
report  he  brought  to  New  York  was  favorably  received ;  but 
as  there  was  no  organization  in  America  at  the  time,  he  found  it 
very  difficult  to  get  the  necessary  funds.  These  came  to  me  in 
small  instalments.  I  continued  to  work,  however,  drawing  on 
the  resources  of  my  friends  at  home  in  Ireland  ;  for  I  want  to 
make  you  understand  that  for  every  dollar  contributed  in  this 
country,  men  at  home  have  contributed  ten.  (Great  cheering.) 
Finding,  about  the  month  of  September,  that  the  promise  made 
to  me  remained  unfulfilled,  and  knowing  that  I  had  organized 
more  than  ten  times  the  force  I  had  undertaken  to  organize,  I 
felt  the  necessity  of  coming  to  America  to  lay  the  foundation  of 
our  work  here.  In  September,  1858,  I  arrived  in  New  "York, 
and  had  a  great  many  difficulties  to  contend  with  here.  But  of 
these  difficulties  I  do  not  care  to  speak  at  length  now,  though, 
if  necessary,  I  shall  make  them  all  known  to  you,  but  not  now. 
I  have  too  many  other  points  to  touch  upon.  At  length,  how- 
ever, I  was  allowed  to  go  to  work  in  America,  and  the  first  man 
I  enhsted  in  the  organization,  or  one  of  the  first,  was  General 
Corcoran.  (Cheers.)  At  that  time  the  organization  in  America 
was  a  secret  society,  as  it  was  in  Ireland.  It  has  been  found 
politic  to  change  it  in  that  regard  since ;  it  has  been  changed  ; 
but  whether  for  the  better  or  not  the  future  can  only  tell.  I 
travelled  through  the  States  and  laid  the  foundation  of  this 
organization.  On  my  return  to  New  York  a  document  was 
drawn  up  conferring  upon  me  the  supreme  control  of  this  organ- 
ization, at  home  and  abroad  (cheers) ;  in  America  as  well  as  in 
Ireland  and  England,  and  in  Australia — everywhere  our  race 
can  be  found — from  that  day  out.  It  was  only  after  a  residence 
of  from  two  to  four  months  in  the  States  I  was  allowed  to  go  to 
work,  and,  as  they  were  impatient  for  me  to  return  to  Ireland, 
I  had  only  a  month  to  devote  to  the  work  of  organization  in 
this  city,  and  I  had  no  time  at  all  to  collect  any  amount  of  funds 
or  arms,  or  what  we  needed  in  Ireland ;  but  all  these  things  were 


promised  to  me.  However,  they  did  not  come.  I  believe  this  is 
one  of  the  points  upon  which  you  want  information — the  amount 
of  support  we  in  Ireland  have  received  from  here  from  the  be- 
ginning of  the  organization.  Well,  then,  to  be  brief,  during  the 
first  six  years  of  the  organization  in  America,  we  in  Ireland  re- 
ceived from  you  about  one  thousand  live  hundred  pounds.  I  have 
come  to  America  to  establish  harmony  in  this  organization,  and 
woe  to  the  man  who  says  or  does  anything  to  prevent  that. 
(Great  cheering.)  Let  there  be  no  cries  against  Doran  Killian  or 
John  O'Mahony,  against  G-eneral  Sweeny  or  Colonel  Roberts  ;  let 
there  be  no  cries  here  to-day  against  any  man.  If  you  have  come 
in  a  spirit  of  brotherhood,  well;  if  not,  woe  to  you  and  woe  to  Ire- 
land. (Sensation.)  Let  every  man  who  has  come  here  to  day, 
if  such  be  here,  for  the  purpose  of  creating  dissension  and  discord 
in  our  ranks — to  widen  the  breach  unhappily  existing — let  that 
man  go  home  from  here — let  him  go  home.  (Cheering).  This  is 
no  place  for  him  ;  let  him  go  to  England,  that  is  the  place  for 
him — (cheers) — let  him  go  to  the  British  Ambassador ;  there  he 
will  be  received;  but  let  him  not  stand  herewith  Irishmen  who 
have  sworn  to  free  their  land  or  die.  (Great  cheering.)  I,  for 
my  single  self,  have  had  my  troubles.  I  have  been  infinitely 
more  tried  by  my  friends  than  by  my  foes;  the  men  wlio  used  to 
call  themselves  my  friends  and  the  friends  of  Ireland,  have  proved 
deadlier  enemies  to  Ireland  and  me  than  British  tyranny  could 
ever  do.  But  I  must  not  anticipate.  I  speak  to  you  in  a  spirit 
of  brotherhood.  I  want  to  have  you  united,  I  want  to  have  all 
our  race  come  into  the  work,  like  brother  Irishmen  and  patriots, 
and  any  man  or  body  of  men  who  prevents  union,  I  here,  to-day, 
in  the  face  of  you  all,  and  in  the  name  of  Ireland,  brand  them  as 
traitors  to  Ireland  and  enemies  to  our  race.  (Tremendous  cheer- 
ing.) Our  motto  to-day  shall  be  union.  (Continued  cheering.) 
Each  man  among  us  must  give  up  selfishness  and  shortsighted 
opinions  and  come  into  the  great  brotherhood.  You  can  all  do 
it.  (Cheering.)  You  are  the  people,  you  are  the  power ;  you 
can  make  the  men,  you  can  direct  the  men,  you  can  force  them 
into  the  right  way  and  prevent  them  going  astray  from  it. 
(Cheers.)  The  duty  is  upon  you  to-day,  and  you  must  do  it. 
(Cheers  and  cries  of  "We  will.")  To  come  back  to  my  narrative 
— for  it  is  merely  a  narrative,  and  I  mean  it  to  be  so,  rather  than 
a  speech — for  the  first  six  years  after  this  organization,  as  I  said, 
we  in  Ireland  received  in  all  about  £1,500.  We  were  driven  al- 
most back  upon  our  resources,  and  I  am  sorry  that  we  did  not 
trust  to  our  own  resources  alone — that  we  ever  looked  to  Ame- 
rica for  anything  whatever.  For,  from  the  spirit  of  dissension  that 
sprang  up,  the  amount  of  calumny,  misrepresentation,  bad  feeling, 
bad  blood  and  scandal  that  was  indulged  in  in  this  organization, 
shame  was  brought  upon  us  all  over  the  world,  and  it  can  only 
be  blotted  out  by  the  redemption  of  Ireland.  (Cheers.)  About 
the  year  1863  I  found  there  remained  to  me  three  courses  to  pur 



sue.  I  had  almost  despaired  of  getting  anything  done  from  thia 
side,  and  it  seemed  to  me  at  home  that  we  were  bound  to  make 
another  effort.  We  had  then  one  of  the  best  men  the  people 
knew  in  Ireland.  I  sent  him  out  here  with  a  statement  of  affairs. 
That  man  has  since  been  condemned  to  twenty  years'  penal  ser- 
vitude; he  is  now  a  'felon,'  with  felon's  clothes,  doing  felon's 
work,  obliged  to  associate  with  the  assassin,  the  burglar,  the 
scoundrel,  with  the  scum  of  the  earth,  and  placed  by  British  law 
on  the  same  level  with  those  criminals.  He  was  my  trusted 
friend,  a  trusted  Irishman  in  the  cause  of  Ireland — learned, 
patriotic,  and  accomplished.  He  was  of  a  trusting  nature,  and  be- 
lieved the  representations  made  to  him  here  in  America.  He 
wrote  home  in  great  heart  to  his  friends,  all  of  whom  his  letter 
cheered  except  myself  His  letter  brought  no  cheer  to  me, 
for  from  wliat  I  had  already  heard  I  knew  his  mission  would  be 
a  failure.  I  knew  that  from  his  first  letter  to  me.  That  was  the 
first  course  open  to  me — to  send  this  man  to  America  upon  the 
people's  work.  His  mission  was  a  failure.  The  next  course  open 
to  me  was  to  establish  a  newspaper  in  Ireland  and  get  for  it  as 
wide  a  circulation  as  possible,  and  devote  its  proceeds  to  the  or- 
ganization. You  must  know  that  greater  difficulties  arise  in  rais- 
ing money  in  Ireland  than  in  this  country.  I  will  not  give  the 
poverty  of  the  people  as  a  reason  for  this.  Poor  as  the  people  of 
Ireland  are  to-day,  if  I  could  have  one  month's  tour  there, 
as  I  could  in  these  States,  I  would  raise  as  much  money  as 
would  free  Ireland.  But  I  was  not  free  to  move  about  Ireland. 
It  was  necessary  for  me,  as  head  of  this  organization,  to  travel 
with  caution,  and  it  was  because  I  did  so  I  was  able  to  escape 
from  arrest  so  long.  But  in  a  short  time  I  received  sufficient 
money  to  establish  the  Irish  People^  of  which  you  have  heard  a 
great  deal.  Towards  the  establishment  of  that  paper  I  got  no 
assistance  whatever,  as  every  obstacle  was  put  in  the  way  of  its 
circulation,  and  it  became  dangerous  for  a  seller  to  sell  it,  or  a 
purchaser  to  buy  it ;  for  the  government  were  \Vatching  the  sale 
of  the  pajj'u-r.  The  landlords  and  employers,  having  a  large  num- 
ber of  people  as  their  dependents,  brought  their  influence  to  bear, 
and  I  am  sorry  to  add  that  the  clergy  set  their  faces  against  the 
paper,  so  that  it  was  difficult  to  effect  a  large  circulation.  The 
Chicago  Fair  was  announced,  and  shortly  after,  an  Irishman  who 
did  good  service  in  the  cause  of  Ireland,  was  deputed  to  go  from 
Chicago  to  Ireland  to  represent  the  state  of  affairs  to  us.  Ostensi- 
bly he  went  to  buy  goods  for  the  fair,  and  receive  what  we  contri- 
buted ;  but  in  reality  came  and  represented  that  nothing  could 
save  the  organization  from  ruin  but  my  presence  in  America,  and 
the  committee  in  Chicago  were  anxious  that  I  should  come,  else 
the  organization  would  fall  to  the  ground.  In  this  narrative  I  am 
omitting  many  details,  because  I  wish  to  speak  in  a  spirit  of  con- 
ciliation, and  I  do  not  wish  to  let  one  word  fall  from  my  lips  to 
hurt  any  man.     If  any  word  of  mine  should  hurt  him  by  chance 


I  beg  bis  pardon  beforehand,  and  say  that  I  did  not  mean  it.  I 
carae  to  the  States.  The  gentleman  alluded  to  is  Mr.  Henry 
Clarence  McCarty.  I  asked  him,  among  other  things,  if  the 
entire  pro-eeds  of  the  fair  would  be  placed  in  my  hands  for  ser- 
vice in  the  cause  of  Ireland,  and  on  his  representations  and  pro- 
mises I  came  a  second  time  to  the  States.  I  promised  my  friends 
in  Ireland,  on  my  arrival  in  New  York,  to  send  them  £100;  on 
my  arrival  in  Chicago,  another  £100,  and  in  a  week  after  my  arrival 
in  Chicago,  £1,000.  The  £100  was  sent  from  Xew  York,  accord- 
ing to  promise;  then  another  £100,  and  £1,000  from  Chicago. 
Por  a  considerable  time  I  could  receive  no  more  money.  There 
was  a  State  convention  liold  in  Chicago  at  that  time,  and  Mr. 
O'Mahony  attended  it  as  well  as  the  centres  of  the  Western  States. 
Mr.  O'Mahony,  on  being  called  on  to  say  what  was  the  strength 
of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  at  that  time  in  America,  stated  that  he 
could  not  claim  more  than  ten  thousand  in  it.  As  my  object  in 
coming  to  the  States  was  to  collect  money  and  receive  arms  in 
order  to  bring  the  movement  to  a  close  as  soon  as  possible,  I  felt 
that  with  so  small  a  basis  I  could  not  effect  my  purpose.  I  felt 
that  in  Cliicago  on  that  night,  and  I  continued  to  feel  it  for  eight 
or  ten  days  as  I  went  through  the  States — tlirough  towns  of  Illi- 
nois— and  it  was  only  when  I  got  to  St.  Louis  that  I  began 
to  see  my  way,  and  felt  that  if  put  in  proper  working  order  the 
organization  would  realize  all  my  expectations  in  a  short  time. 
And  here  I  may  say,  that  we  never  required  much.  Those  peo- 
ple who  told  you  that  I  came  over  for  two  hundred  thousand,  or 
fifty  thousand,  or  twenty  thousand  men,  or  one-half  that  number, 
knew  very  little  about  me,  and  still  less  about  Ireland.  (Cheers.) 
At  that  time  we  would  have  been  perfectly  satisfied  with  a  few 
men.  All  we  then  wanted  was  war  material.  On  my  return  to 
New  York,  I  had  certain  changes  to  propose,  which  were,  in  ray 
opinion  essential  to  success  First,  I  deemed  it  necessary  that 
Mr.  O'Mahony  should  have  a  deputy  Head  Centre,  an  able  busi- 
ness man,  who  could  make  good  certain  defects  in  Mr.  O'Mahony, 
for  Mr.  O'Mahony  was  ahva3's  opposed  to  making  direct  appeals 
for  money,  and  it  was  absolutely  necessary  that  these  appeals 
should  be  made.  He  was  also  not  disposed  to  go  to  strange  parts 
of  this  continent  when  invitations  were  not  forthcoming.  The  in- 
vitations did  not  come.  Certain  other  changes  I  deemed  neces- 
sary, and  these  changes  effected  an  extraordinary  improvement, 
which  very  soon  became  visible  in  the  organization.  That  which 
had  real  effect  on  the  people  of  this  continent  was,  I  believe,  the 
statement  I  made  to  them  in  1864.  That  statement  was 
to  the  effect  that  the  organized  force  at  that  time  in  Ireland 
was  sixty  thousand  men,  just  six  times  the  strength  of 
your  legal,  open  organization  in  America;  and  I  made  the 
engagement  that  if  England  went  to  war  that  year  on  the 
Danish  question,  we  should  take  the  field,  but  that  whether 
England  went  to  war  or  not,  we  should  take  the  field  iu  1865 


"What  the  people  wanted  here  as  well  as  in  Ireland  was  a  fised 
time  for  action,  and  not  to  be  dragged  on,  as  they  had  been  for 
years,  without  knowing  when  the  time  for  action  would  come. 
To  the  statement  then  made,  much  of  the  progress  made  is  to 
be  attributed.  On  my  return  to  Ireland  I  found  that  the  work 
was  in  a  very  good  state,  and  the  report  that  I  brought  back 
from  America  set  the  people  at  work  still  harder.  But  still  the 
war  did  not  take  place.  England  fought  shy,  as  she  has  often 
since  the  establishment  of  our  organization.  She  did  not  go  to 
war  on  the  Danish  question,  and  we  had  then  one  year  more  to 
wait.  You  held  your  Cincinnati  convention,  and  about  that 
time  I  vn-ote,  stating  the  requirements  of  Ireland,  and  asking 
for  the  months  of  January,  February,  and  March,  £1,000.  I 
stated  I  would  require  for  the  month  of  April,  £1,000  alone, 
and  for  the  months  of  May,  June,  July,  and  August,  about 
£2,500  per  month.  The  money  for  January,  February,  and 
March  was  sent  to  me — about  £1,000.  Another  £1,000  was 
sent  to  me  hi  April,  but  I  did  not  get  the  second  instalment  tUl 
the  middle  of  May,  and  of  the  money  for  May,  June,  July,  and 
August,  I  got  none.  Instead  of  getting  the  money  I  asked  for, 
and  which  would  have  enabled  ns  to  take  the  field  last  year, 
two  gentlemen  were  appointed  here  to  go  to  Ireland  to  investi- 
gate our  work.  They  were  perfectly  satisfied  with  the  state  of 
affairs  in  Ireland.  They  sent  over  a  very  favorable  report,  ancZ 
asked  for  money  to  be  sent  back  to  us.  It  was  agreed  on  at 
that  time  that  the  bonds  of  the  Irish  republic  should  be  issued 
upon  their  returq.  It  was  calculated  we  should  have  all  that 
was  requisite  by  the  close  of  the  year.  It  so  happened  that  one 
of  the  delegat'^s,  while  in  Ireland,  lost  certain  documents.  This 
was  Mr.  Meehan.  (There  was  som?  hissing  when  Mr.  Meehan's 
name  was  mentioned.)  ITow,  I  don't  wish  to  say  one  word 
disparagingly  of  him  to-day;  neither  do  I  wish  that  any  frieud 
of  mine  should  do  so ;  but  while  desirous  of  not  saying  anything 
against  him,  it  is  necessary  that  the  fact  should  be  known  that 
the  loss  of  these  documents  was  the  immediate  occasion  of  the 
arrests  in  Ireland.  (Groaning.)  I  have  myself  written  against 
him,  and  if  I  have  wronged  him  I  would  be  very  happy  to  make 
ample  reparation  if  he  will  only  favor  me  with  a  visit.  (Cheers.) 
I  have  sent  invitations  to  all  those  gentlemen — G-eneral  Sweeny, 
Mr.  Eoberts  and  Mr.  Meehan — to  all  of  those  gentlemen  to  come 
and  see  me ;  but  very  few  of  them  have  come,  I  am  sorry  to 
say.  The  fault,  however,  has  not  been  mine.  I  have  made  all 
the  advances  compatible  with  my  sense  of  duty  and  of  dignity. 
"Well,  the  arrests  were  made,  and  the  government  said  triumph- 
antly that  all  was  over  in  Ireland.  But  so  far  from  it,  never 
was  harder  work  and  more  work  done  in  Ireland  than  immedi- 
ately after  the  arrests.  I  was  free  myself,  and  while  free  I  am 
not  used  to  be  idle.  (G-reat  cheering.)  Immediately  afterwards, 
the  government  saw  the  necessity  of  proclaiming  every  county 


in  Ireland,  one  after  the  other,  because  they  felt  that  the  work 
was  going  on  stronger  than  ever,  and  that  the  only  thing  we 
wanted  was  arms  and  munitions  of  war,  and  these  were  coming 
into  the  country,  and  they  could  not  prevent  their  coming  in. 
They  saw  that  the  men  who  were  serving  the  cause  of  Ireland 
were  able  to  baffle  them,  and  that  the  men  got  in  what  they  re- 
quired. What  they  were  able  to  do  then,  they  are  able  to  do 
now.  Don't  allow  yourselves  to  be  bUnded  upon  that  subject, 
nor  let  yourselves  be  persuaded  by  any  one  that  we  can't  get 
the  means  into  the  countr}-.  It  has  been  all  a  question  of 
money  With  the  requisite  funds  we  can  get  in  whatever  ma- 
terials we  wish,  and  men  too,  if  we  require  them.  My  opinion 
on  this  subject  ought  to  be  more  than  the  opinions  of  the  people 
who  have  not  seen  Ireland  since  the  greenness  of  their  youth, 
and  who  know  next  to  nothing  of  Ireland.  (Cheers.)  My 
friends  were  arrested,  and  you  know  how  they  conducted  them- 
selves. The  bearing  of  those  prisoners  has  not  been  surpassed 
by  the  bearing  of  any  men  in  history,  under  similar  circumstances. 
And  they  bore  all  this  because  tliey  still  had  faith — faith  in  the 
organization  which  they  knew  to  be  so  powerful  at  home,  and 
also  faith  that  the  promises  so  often  made  to  them,  and  so 
solemnly  made  upon  this  side,  would  be  kept.  When  the  coun- 
ties had  been  proclaimed,  the  British  press — and  how  am  I  to 
designate  that  press  ? — I  beheve  it  to  be  the  vilest  in  the  world, 
unless  it  be  that  foul  press  of  Irelaud,  which  may  fairly  be  de- 
signated the  journalistic  excrements  of  England — that  vile  press 
then  began  to  boast  that  the  organization  was  suppressed  in  Ire- 
land. But  only  a  few  weeks  afterwards  the  Lord  Lieutenant 
wrote  the  precious  letter  whicli  you  must  have  all  read,  calliug 
on  the  government  to  suspend  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act.  You 
know  the  wholesale  arrests  that  were  made  after  the  suspension 
of  the  Habeas  Corpus.  They  thought  to  make  the  world  believe 
that  we  were  suppressed  then  at  least,  and  that  was  their  third 
attempt.  But  I  can  tell  you  now  that  the  organization  in  Ire- 
land to-day  is  stronger  than  it  ever  had  been,  in  numbers,  dis- 
cipline, and  in  all  the  requirements  of  an  army,  save  only  in 
war  material.  The  organization  in  Ireland,  towards  the  close  of 
last  year,  numbered  two  hundred  thousand  men.  and  of  that 
force,  fifty  thousand  were  thoroughly  drilled,  with  a  large  pro- 
portion of  men  who  had  seen  war  and  smelt  powder  on  the  battle- 
field— a  large  proportion  of  veterans,  in  short;  fifty  thousand 
were  partly  drilled  men,  and  the  other  hundred  thousand  quite 
undrllled.  But  if  there  be  a  man  among  you  who  thinks  that  fifty 
thousand  Irishmen  thoroughly  drilled,  with  fifty  thousand  others 
partly  drilled,  would  not  make  a  force  sufficient  to  meet  ami;hing 
that  England  could  bring  against  us,  then  indeed  iio  is  wofuUy 
ignorant  of  the  resources  of  England.  What  army  could  be 
brought  against  Ireland  by  England?  What  is  the  military 
force  of  England  at  present  ?     There  are  some  twenty  thousand 


English,  troops  in  Ireland  at  present,  and  it  would  take  England 
from  thirty  to  forty  days  to  concentrate  a  force  of  thirty  to  forty 
thousand  men  in  Ireland.  It  would  take  her  three  months  at 
least  to  concentrate  a  force  of  seventy  thousand,  and  it  is  not 
likely  she  would  be  ever  able  to  concentrate  a  larger  force.  Of 
our  forces  we  could  concentrate  in  Ireland,  at  four  or  five  given 
points,  one  hundred  thousand  men  in  twenty-four  hours. 
(Tremendous  cheering.)  All  we  wanted  in  Ireland  from  the 
middle  of  September  to  the  end  of  December  was  arms  to  put 
into  the  hands  of  our  men.  The  men  were  there,  and  only 
wanted  the  arms.  But,  in  tlie  very  hour  of  our  strength,  there 
came  to  Ireland  the  melancholy  news  of  your  disruption  here. 
StiU  we  held  on.  We  did  not  think  it  possible  that  any  body  of 
men  on  this  continent  could  be  found  that  would  withhold  from 
Ireland  in  that  supreme  hour  of  her  need  the  succor  which  they 
had  promised  to  give  us ;  and  it  was  because  1  could  not  bring 
myself  to  believe  this  that  I  had  made  up  my  mind  to  get  myself 
arrested,  even  if  the  English  authorities  had  not  succeeded  in 
doing  so ;  for  I  felt  myself  bound  to  action  last  year,  and  I 
thought  you  would  feel  bound  to  it  here,  if  I  devoted  myself  so 
far  as  to  accept  a  prison  voluntarily,  and  that  by  going  into 
prison  you  on  this  side  would  be  driven  to  give  us  what  we 
wanted.  However,  before  the  time  I  had  decided  for  putting  it 
into  execution  I  heard  nothing  favorable  from  this  side,  and  the 
government  found  out  my  residence  and  I  was  arrested.  I  sup- 
pose you  would  all  like  to  know  how  I  got  out  of  prison. 
(Tremendous  enthusiasm.)  Well,  it  did  not  require  any  extra- 
ordinary effort  on  my  part,  for  with  the  force  of  true  hearts  that 
were  around  that  prison  in  Dublin  it  would  not  have  been  possi- 
ble for  the  government,  though  the  walls  had  been  of  adamant, 
and  though  it  had  regiments  stationed  within  those  walls,  to 
keep  me  there.  (G-reat  cheering.)  To  my  friends  in  Dublin,  then, 
I  refer  you  for  the  manner  in  which  I  effected  my  escape.  That 
was  the  time  of  our  greatest  power  in  Ireland,  and  if,  at  any 
time  between  the  24th  of  ISTovember  and  the  end  of  December, 
you  had  sent  to  Ireland  a  small  force,  or  only  a  few  superior  offi- 
cers with  the  necessary  war  material,  I  do  believe,  as  firmly  as  in 
my  own  existence,  that  Ireland  would  be  an  independent  country 
to-day.  But  you  know  what  took  place.  However,  my  mind  was 
made  up  not  to  leave  Ireland,  and  so  I  remained  for  nearly  four 
months  in  Dublin  city  after  my  escape  from  prison.  At  length 
I  had  an  invitation  from  Mr.  O'Mahony  and  others  to  come  to 
this  country,  for  the  organization,  it  was  said,  required  my 
presence  here. 

The  evening  after  the  reception  of  this  invitation,  I  called  some 
of  my  most  trusted  friends  around  me  to  hold  a  council,  to  see, 
before  I  determined  on  starting  for  America,  if  something  might 
not  be  done  at  home  even  without  your  assistance.  It  was  de- 
dermined  ou  that  night,  even  without  asking  for  xaj  voice,  to 


defer  action  yet  awhile.  It  was  then  and  then  only  that  I  de- 
termined on  coming  to  the  States.  Once  determined  on  I  set 
about  its  execution,  or  rather  my  friends  set  about  its  execution, 
for  I  was  in  their  hands,  and  indeed  it  is  to  them  and  not  to  any 
effort  of  my  own  that  everything  is  due.  This  departure  from 
Ireland  was  much  more  difficult  and  much  more  full  of  incident 
than  the  escape  from  prison.  But  I  do  not  care  to  dwell  on  it 
now.  I  want  to  come  to  the  object  of  my  mission  to  America. 
You  know  by  this  time  that  it  is  to  reconcile  the  parties  here 
and  to  effect  a  union — such  a  complete  union  as  would  give  us 
very  speedily  all  that  we  want  for  the  freedom  of  our  land.  I 
found  the  organization  here  torn  asunder,  and,  as  already  said, 
all  sorts  of  bad  feeUng  among  the  members.  But  I  still  beheve 
that,  from  what  the  people  have  shown  to  me  since  my  arrival 
ifi  the  States,  I  can  effect  enough  for  all  our  purposes.  (Cheers.) 
Tt  wUl  give  me  the  greatest  possible  pleasure,  and  it  will  give 
Ireland  great  pleasure,  and  the  men  who  are  now  pining  in 
prison,  and  the  men  who  are  standing  in  the  face  of  all  difficul- 
ties at  home ;  it  will  give  them  infinite  pleasure  to  see  the  heads 
of  the  sections  coming  into  this  organization  united  once  more. 
(Cheers.)  As  already  said,  I  have  made  advances  for  that  pur- 
pose, and  so  far  as  I  recollect  I  have  not  as  yet  let  fall  one 
single  word  that  could  fairly  hurt  any  of  these  gentlemen.  I 
did  expect  that  Mr.  Roberts  would  have  acted  like  Mr.  O'Mahony. 
I  believe  it  was  patriotic  and  wise  of  Mr.  O'Mahony  to  have  given 
in  his  resignation,  and  I  believe  it  would  be  patriotic  and  wise 
of  Mr.  Roberts  to  do  the  same;  and  if  Mr.  Roberts  and  Mr. 
O'Mahony  passed  on  this  platform  to-day,  forgiving  one  another, 
forgetting  the  past,  stretching  forth  the  hand  of  brotherhood  one 
to  the  other,  and  calling  on  the  men  to  work  together — if  they 
had  been  here  to  endorse  me,  I  believe  that  the  organization 
would  have  in  a  single  month  ten  times  the  power  it  ever  had, 
and  that  the  liberty  of  Ireland  would  be  a  certain  thing. 
(Toices,     Down  with  theml  pitch  them  overboard!) 

Me.  Stephens  (emphacically) — I  have  already  called  on  you 
not  to  say  a  word  hurtful  to  anyone.  I  have  a  great  respect  for 
Mr.  Roberts  and  Mr,  O'Mahony,  and  for  every  man  till  he  is  proved 
to  be  dishonest,  and,  once  proved  to  be  dishonest,  I  am  then  done 
with  him  for  ever.  But  nothing  of  the  kind  has  been  proved 
against  any  of  these  gentlemen,  so  you  have  no  right  to  hoot  at 
them,  no  matter  who  may  have  set  you  on.  Here,  publicly  and 
before  the  Irish  people,  I  once  more  in  a  friendly  and  fraternal 
spirit  invite  these  gentlemen — the  heads  of  all  parties — to  come 
to  me  while  I  remain  in  New  York,  and  endeavor  to  come  to 
an  understanding.  I  call  on  the  Irish  people  here  and  through- 
out the  world — for  I  believe  the  words  I  pre  aounoe,  however 
simply  spoken,  wdl  be  read  wherever  our  race  can  be  found — I 
call,  then,  on  our  whole  race  to  rise  up  against  the  man  or  body 
of  men  who  would  stand  between  Ireland  and  this  essential 

112  •  JAMES  STEPHE1\'S. 

union  to-day.  I  appeal  to  you  by  all  you  hold  dear,  by  the 
memory  of  that  land  so  fair,  so  full  of  sorrows,  and  yet  so 
stedfast,  so  resolute,  so  pure,  and  enlightened  as  it  is  to- 
day. For  I  claim  for  Ireland  at  this  hour  more  true  repub- 
Hcan  principles  and  lights  than  are  to  be  found  in  the  same 
number  of  people  in  any  country  on  earth,  (Cheers.)  And  if 
there  be  more  anywhere  else,  it  must  be  on  this  repub- 
lican .continent.  But  certainly,  I  do  say  this,  and  I  say  it  de- 
liberately— for  I  know  that  these  words  will  be  read  in 
France  and  in  other  lands  that  are  so  very  dear  to  me,  for 
France  I  do  love.  (Prolonged  and  enthusiastic  cheering.) 
I  say  that  not  even  there  nor  in  any  other  land  in  Europe  is 
there  so  much  republican  intellect  as  in  Ireland.  I  say  that  we 
are  well  worthy  of  liberty,  and  that  we  are  able  to  win  it,  if  you 
do  not  deceive,  or  rather  if  you  do  not  disappoint  us  in  any  way. 
In  fact  I  might  let  the  first  word  stand,  for  indeed  if  you  disap- 
point us  then  you  wiU  truly  betray  us.  You  must  disappoint 
and  betray  us  if  you  are  not  united.  This  unity  of  action  is  the 
grand  essential  to-day ;  you  must  labor  for  that,  think  of  nothing 
else  but  that,  and  don't  rest  till  you  have  effected  it.  (Cheers.) 
Countrymen  and  friends  of  Ireland,  for  very  important  reasons 
I  shah  not  extend  my  address  to  you  to-day,  but  through  the 
press  and  elsewhere  you  will  hear  of  me  again.  The  last  words 
I  shall  say  to  you  now  will  be  but  a  repetition  of  what  I  have 
already  said.  Without  unity  we  cannot  have  what  we  require,  and 
you  cannot  fulfil  your  promises  to  Ireland ;  the  Irish  people  are 
sure  to  be  disheartened  and  dispirited  ;  the  organization  is  sure 
to  be  broken  up,  and  an  eternal  stain  wiU  rest  upon  our  charac- 
ter ;  but,  worst  of  all,  the  whole  Irish  race  is  sure  to  be  exter- 
minated. (No,  no.)  It  is  certain  that  the  Irish  people  wiU  be 
driven  from  the  soil  of  Ireland  if  you  do  not  free  her.  If  there 
is  not  union  I  believe  the  whole  movement  will  end  in  failure, 
and  then  the  doom  of  your  race  will  be  sealed.  Beheving,  then, 
that  union  is  the  great  want  of  the  present  time,  I  have  in  many 
ways  cut  short  this  address  to  avoid  any  remark  that  might  be 
considered  fairly  hurtful  to  any  man.  Once  more,  I  repeat,  I 
stretch  forth  my  hand  to  any  man  who  may  come  to  effect  this 
union ;  and  I  call  on  you  now,  in  the  name  of  Ireland,  to  allow 
no  man  to  stand  in  the  way  of  this  unity.  (Cheers.)  Effect  it, 
and  as  sure  as  I  address  you  here  to-day  we  shall  take  the  field 
in  Ireland  this  very  year,  and  by  effecting  it  we  will  have  a  free 
land.  Brothers,  as  my  object  to-day  is  to  endeavor  to  effect 
this  unity,  I  deem  it  wise  that  no  other  gentleman  should  ad- 
dress you  on  this  occasion." 

Mr.  Stephens  then  retired  from  the  front  of  the 
platform  amid  deafening  cheers  and  waving  of  flags 


and  banners.  During  the  delivery  of  the  above  ad- 
dress, which  occupied  about  an  hour  and  a  quarter, 
the  crowd  listened  with  unusual  attention  and  eager- 

The  address  was  not  intended  as  an  oratorical 
display  at  all,  but  merely  as  a  plain  unostentatious 
statein.ent  of  facts,  which  should  disabuse  the  brother- 
hood here,  and  the  outside  public,  of  some  most  erro- 
neous notions  they  had  imbibed  with  regard  to  the 
condition  of  affairs  in  Ireland,  and  especially  con- 
cerning the  amount  of  pecuniary  aid  that  had  been 
received  from  America.  It  answered  its  purpose 
admirably,  and  was  received  with  great  satisfaction 
by  all  those  who  had  the  most  right  to  demand  in- 
formation, and  who  were  the  most  deeply  interested. 

Mr.  Stephens  then  proceeded  to  carry  out  his 
plans  for  cementing  the  fractured  organization,  which 
he  and  his  advisers  had  arranged.  It  was  thought 
best  that  he  should  make  an  extended  tour  through- 
out the  country,  addressing  the  brotherhod  and  the 
citizens  everywhere,  and  making  such  expositions  of 
Irish  policy  as  it  might  be  prudent  to  make  public. 
Before  proceeding  on  the  trip  to  the  more  distant 
points,  it  was  decided  to  deliver  addresses  in  the 
cities  nearer  the  great  commercial  metropolis.  Ac- 
cordingly, Mr.  Stephens  visited  New  Haven,  New- 
ark, Brooklyn,  and  other  near-by  places,  in  each  of 
which  towns  he  made  a  telling  speech,  being  every- 
where received  with  great  enthusiasm,  and  many 
good  wishes  and  promises  of  material  aid.  His  ora- 
tion was  generally  announced  as  an  exposition  of 
the  "  State  and  Necessities  of  the  Cause  of  Ireland  at 
Home  and  Abroad." 

114  JAMES  STEPHENS.      . 


In  Brooklyn,  and  also  at  a  second  large  meeting 
in  New  York,  Mr.  Stephens  adopted  a  novel  mode  of 
giving  to  the  public  the  information  so  much  sought 
for  in  regard  to  the  condition  of  Ireland  and  the 
Fenian  difficulties.  After  speaking  to  his  audiences 
for  a  time,  he  requested  any  individual  to  ask  him 
questions,  promising  to  answer  truthfully  and  fully 
any  and  all  except  such  as  would  bring  to  grief  the 
brave  men  at  home.  The  following  questions  and 
answers  are  the  most  important  ones  elicited  at 
thesg^ia?2ce5  .* 

Q. — Do  you  think  it  possible  to  secure  the  Hbertj  of  Ireland 
without  a  fleet  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  believe  it  practicable  to  break  the  English 
power  in  Ireland  without  one  ship.     If  I  did  not  believe  tliis,  I 
should  not  be  here  speaking  in  belialf  of  Ireland.     We  have  the^ 
power  witliin  ourselves  to  conquer  our  freedom. 

Q. — Has  the  American  Consul  in  Ireland  done  anything  to- 
wards obtaining  the  release  of  American  citizens  arrested-  there 
for  being  connected  with  the  Fenian  movement  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — The  Consul  has  given  the  utmost  dissatisfac- 
tion to  every  Irishman,  and  has  lowered  the  dignity  of  the  Ame- 
rican Government  in  Ireland.  He  should  be  brought  to  a  strict 
account  for  his  conduct. 

Q. — Does  John  Mitchel  agree  with  your  views  regarding  Ire- 

Mr.  Stephens. — So  far  as  I  know,  yes.  He  thinks  we  ought 
to  wait  till  late  in  the  year  before  fighting;  but  he  knows  nothing 
of  the  organization  in  Ireland,  not  having  been  there  for  eighteen 

Q. — "Was  it  through  your  influence  that  P.  J.  Meehan  escaped 
assassination  from  the  Irishmen  in  Ireland  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  have  to  say,  that  on  tliree  different  occa- 
sions he  was  saved  from  a  traitor's  death  by  my  influence.  There 
ia  not  a  man  in  Ireland  who  does  not  believe  that  Mr.  Meehan 
knew  when  and  where  he  lost  the  documents.    Those  documents, 


simple  in  themselves,  were  the  immediate  cause  of  the  arrests  ia 
Ireland  last  year. 

Q. — Please  to  explain  the  nature  of  the  documents  lost  by 
Meehan,  and  the  people  compromised? 

Mr.  Stephens. — That  is  as  easy  as  A,  B,  C.  The  nature  was 
that  I  was  addressed  as  the  C.  0.  I.  R.  (Sensation.)  The  British 
Government  acknowledged  that  they  could  not  have  taken  one 
step  but  for  the  discovery  of  those  documents.  They  were  the 
real  cause  of  the  arrests  in  Ireland.  The  British  could  not  de- 
pend on  Nagle ;  the  Attorney-General  said  they  had  nothing  cer- 
tain till  they  received  those  documents.  (A  voice — "But  only 
three  men  were  mentioned.") 

Mr.  Stephens. — That  was  enough  to  cause  all  the  arrests; 
they  found  out  that  they  could  learn  more  from  the  office  of  the 
Irish  People,  and  so  seized  it. 

Q. — Hasn't  Napoleon  III.  the  key  of  England  in  his  pocket 
to- day? 

Mr.  Stephens. — Napoleon  III.  has  been  likened  to  the  Sphynx, 
and  the  secret  of  his  great  power  lies  in  the  fact  that  he  keeps 
his  mind  to  himself. 

Q. — Is  Mr.  Roberts  in  favor  of  a  union  of  the  Brotherhood  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — Mr.  Roberts  is  inclined,  I  am  informed  and 
believe,  to  look  at  things  in  a  right  way;  to  abandon  ruinous 
projects ;  to  do  all  he  can  to  effect  a  reconciliation. 

Q. — Did  you  not  save  the  life  of  Sullivan  Goula,  whom  Gen. 
Sweeny  has  lately  cited  to  prove  his  popularity  in  Ireland? 

Mr.  Stephens. — But  for  an  order  issued  by  me  and  reiterated, 
that  man  would  have  died  had  he  a  hundred  lives.  Unfortu- 
nately Mr.  Sweeny  knows  nothing  of  Ireland,  not  having  been 
there  for  many  years,  or  he  would  not  refer  to  such  men  to  prove 
his  popularity, 

Q  — "We  here  have  subscribed  one  million  of  doUars ;  what  has 
become  of  it  all  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  can  only  answer  for  what  has  been  received 
by  me,  and  the  total  sum  received  in  eight  years  is  less  than 
£30,000.  The  Executive  Committee  will  give  you  their  report 
of  what  has  become  of  the  rest  in  a  few  days. 

Q. — Are  Schotield  and  Nagle  alive  yet  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  think  it  just  as  well  to  leave  a  little  mystery 
about  these  matters.  Scoundrels  of  this  nature  will  always  re- 
ceive their  deserts.  There  is  a  determined  spirit  in  Ireland  to 
mete  out  to  traitors  a  traitor's  doom. 

Q. — Have  the  men  of  the  North  (outside  of  those  who  are  pledged 
to  the  Crown)  shown  any  disposition  to  stand  up  for  liberty  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — The  men  of  the  North  are  second  to  no  men 
in  Ireland  to-day. 

Q. — Is  there  a  prospect  of  union  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — Some  of  the  leaders  are  in  favor  of  a  reconcilia- 
tion, and  others  will  not  have  union  at  any  price.     I  believe, 


however,  that  ere  long  we  shall  have  a  union  of  the  masses, 
regardless  of  the  leaders. 

Q.— Do  you  think  that  the  French  people  are  in  favor  of  the 
Fenian  movement  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — The  French  people  love  liberty  wherever 

Q. — What  amount  of  army  equipments  did  you  get  at  Union 
Square,  and  how  mucli  do  you  want  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — A  fair  and  full  answer  to  that  question  would 
be  tantamount  to  the  loss  of  my  documents.  I  shall  take  all  I 
want,  and  more  if  I  can  get  them. 

Q.  In  view  of  the  obligation  of  our  oath  of  naturalization  and 
the  rights  and  privileges  American  citizensliip  confers  on  us,  is  it 
good  for  our  race,  or  in  accordance  wilh  the  plighted  oath  we 
have  given  to  America,  to  cross  the  border  and  make  war  on  the 
people  of  Canada  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — It  would  be  ruinous  to  our  race.  I  believe 
that  in  acting  in  such  a  manner  as  to  compromise  this  country 
you  will  be  committing  a  crime.  "We  have  only  to  unite  and 
have  faith  in  ourselves,  and  we  can  do  our  own  work  without  the 
help  of  even  so  good  a  friend  as  America.  "We  must  not  com- 
promise any  country  in  our  struggle.  In  regard  to  the  oath,  I 
believe  it  would  be  a  violation  of  it  for  you  who  have  taken  it  to 
cross  into  Canada. 

Q. — Can  you  get  artillery  into  Ireland  ?  If  not,  can  you  fight 
without  it  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  will  undertake  to  get  all  the  munitions  of 
war  we  want  into  Ireland,  in  spite  of  all  the  watchfulness  of  Eng- 
land, if  you  will  only  give  them  to  us.  After  a  few  days'  fight- 
ing we  should  have  several  parks  of  artillery  in  our  possession. 

Q. — Do  you  think  that  the  fact  of  a  man  emigrating  to  Ame- 
rica absolves  him  from  his  oath  as  an  I.  R.  B.  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  believe  the  oath  to  be  binding  on  the  soul  of 
the  man  who  takes  it — to  be  binding  until  he  dies  or  Ireland  is 

Q. — Can  England  claim  the  allegiance  of  a  former  subject  who 
has  been  naturalized  here  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — England  claims  the  allegiance  of  every  man 
born  on  her  soil,  no  matter  whether  he  has  become  a  citizen  of 
any  other  country  or  not.  The  moment  any  one  of  you  lands  on 
Irish  soil,  England  claims  you  for  her  own. 

Q. — Did  O'Mahony  send  all  the  money  to  you  that  was  col- 
lected here  by  subscriptions  and  otherwise  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — I  cannot  say  how  much  of  it  I  received.  If 
you  had  several  men  collecting  money  at  the  same  time,  you 
would  find  it  difficult  to  tell  how  much  they  got. 

But,  said  a  voice,  O'Mahony  blames  the  Senate  for  holding  back 
the  money.     How's  that  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — O'Mahony  and  the  Senate  and  all  held  back 


the  mouev  and  spent  it  for  conventions,  mansions,  and  other  such 
fooUsh  matters. 

Q. — A  lover  of  the  ladies  desires  to  know  if  the  girls  at  home 
are  trumps  in  the  cause  of  Ireland  ? 

Mr.  Stephens. — The  girls  at  home  are  not  only  trumps  in  the 
cause,  but  are  the  ace  of  hearts  itself 

This  novel  method  of  arriving  at  the  truth  gave 
the  utmost  satisfaction  to  all  parties,  the  questions 
eliciting  facts  which  would  not  naturally  have  been 
touched  upon  in  the  course  of  a  speech. 

Mr.  Stephens'  work  in  America  is  not  yet  com- 
plete, but  at  this  date  bids  fair  to  bring  forth  good 
fruit.  If  integrity  of  purpose,  long  suffering  in  the 
cause,  and  many  noble  sacrifices  for  the  cause,  de- 
serve success,  then  will  he  be  successful.  His  coun- 
trymen at  home  look  to  him  as  their  deliverer,  en- 
trusting him  with  the  destinies  of  their  country, 
their  fortune,  and  their  lives.  Let  no  Irish- American 
withhold  from  him  that  support  which  he  solicits  in 
the  name  of  Erin's  Green  Isle. 



OUi\    _  ^ 

U">  c*  1 


!L)N  -5   1997 


i'-  " 


I    \ 

w  '-■ 




3  9031  01372764  9 

02/1 I/B3 


--rS-  u  »  0 ! 

3)  A   ^S~4;S^72 

T-nri  F". 


UNIVERSITY     HF  G  -"'^S 

P''"  .s  n  ax-^  he  ^T:ept  for  two  weeks  and  may 
be  reiiew^;J  for  the  same  period,  unless  re- 

Two  cents  3  day  is  charged  for  each  book 
kept  overtime. 

If  you  cannot  find  what  you  want,  ask  the 
L/ibrarian  who  will  be  glad  to  help  you. 

The  borrower  is  responsible  for  books  drawn 
on  his  card  and  for  all  fines  accruing  on  the 
same.         ^